Conquest! Language Support
Since its inception in 1993, Conquest! has only been available in the English language. Based on some reviews of Conquest!, adding additional languages seemed like a good idea. Fortunately, a design decision made circa 1995 made the process much easier.
Before the change, all game messages were hard coded within the server. This meant that every time a new message was added or an existing one was changed, the game had to be redeployed and the server restarted. At that time I decided that I would assign all messages with a numeric code and send that to the clients, which would interpret how to display the message (e.g. instead of sending "You must be a Paladin to use this skill." the server sends "35Paladin"). Originally, this was meant to cut down on the network traffic and facilitate creating graphical clients (which didn't materialize until 2016!). However, it had the nice side effect of allowing translations to other languages.
This week I completed translations of Conquest! to French, German, and Spanish. It took about a week to translate the ~2000 different messages using Google Translate. When the graphical client was created in 2016, once again all of the help, prompts, and field labels were hard-coded in English. In addition to the messages from the server, all of these had to be pulled out and translated.
I did look for a way to perform dynamic translations but I didn't locate a way to do this and I was wary about build an external dependency, especially given the dynamic nature of the game. Now that the plumbing is in place, creating files for additional languages requires just the translation effort (which is still a huge amount of work!).
Some items (e.g. level titles, troop names, etc.) cannot be translated at this time. I'm eyeing a translation to Italian in the future but for now I'm going to take a small break (its actually mentally taxing to work on translations).
James has been working on Conquest! since 1993.