At the same time I was leading development of the multiplayer Life Moments game mode for The Sims 3 on Wii, Planet Moon Studios was developing the Wii and Nintendo DS videogames for Disney's 50th animated feature, Disney Tangled.
The Nintendo DS version needed localization into English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Dutch, as well as Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian. Once Life Moments went into certification I joined the Tangled DS team to design and implement the game's localization tech, and to work with the game's engineers, artists, and designers and Disney's QA department to localize every asset.
The two most challenging aspects of localizing Disney Tangled for the Nintendo DS were the very limited video memory available for multi-language fonts, and the much larger size of similar dialogue in German or Dutch vs English.
To address the video memory issue, we built custom fonts for each language. These fonts contained only those glyphs needed for the game text in that language; an automated tool carefully packed the glyphs into a bitmap for maximum efficiency.
Differences in text size were addressed in two ways. For text fields rendered into fixed-size text balloons in the game's Flash movies, I introduced text width and line count limits while asking the artists adjust the heights and widths of the fields for maximum capacity without compromising artwork. For fields that could paginate, I implemented a custom word and page wrapping algorithm that would automatically divide the text into multiple pages while also allowing a designer to force page breaks.
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