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Old 05-23-2008, 09:02 PM   #1
james.portnow
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Default Alternate Languages In Games/Tabula Rasa

After seeing the discussion on this week's game design challenge I was wondering if anyone else was interested in the idea of alternate languages in games. If so, just bump this. If it gets enough replies I'll put together an article and try to get Richard to weigh in and post some of the original ideas for the Tabula Rasa symbolic language.
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Old 05-23-2008, 09:45 PM   #2
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So it was an Alien Language? I figured as much, Richard is crazy, but if you talk to him thank him for Ultima for me. 7,8 and 9 were all amazing.

I was thinking maybe not an alternate language, but... actual languages so that people can have home ground advantages when dealing with shops or things like that. Also I was just thinking of as you go, words you see frequently in response to something you know the translated word to you could eventually learn by experience per word or guessing it.

For example:

-Your character enters a samurai sword and armor shop in a small village in Japan. Because it's a small village and the shopkeep knows everyone, he instantly pegs you as an easy markup. The selling process begins with a greeting. And then into the eventual bartering.
-During the transaction he says the word in japenese for sword (I'm not sure but I think it is Ken) and you recognize that he pointed to the sword and said that. So you can either continue with the conversation or take a stab at guessing the word. If you get it right you can then use that word in your conversation fluently in Japanese. However, when it comes to using it properly you'd still be using it with other words from english.
-Also, our programmers would hate me, and I should have become a translator instead.

Just a thought, but now suddenly I think that would be beyond the scope of a budget. That would be like remaking the whole world. Fun. But I do enjoy the thought of learning a language like that. It would have made French class a whole lot more fun trying to buy a sword from some French Fencer who's selling his old stuff.

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Old 05-25-2008, 08:08 PM   #3
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I think that it is a really cool idea to have a common language in a game of sorts. Like a language of symbols (I think that's what RG did in TR) so that it's simple to learn and players all over the world can communicate with this one language. I think it would be fun to learn at least
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Old 05-26-2008, 04:10 AM   #4
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It really depends if the language helps shape the world. If it corresponds directly word to word with English or another existing/dead language, and there is no real reason why one symbol is used instead of another aside from that it looks cool, then the language only becomes annoying.

But as a topic, yes it's very interesting.
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Old 06-21-2008, 03:29 PM   #5
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You know I thought that was something that would be cool in W.O.W. , but it didn't really matter because everyone speaks the same language in that game except opposing factions. You should gain the opportunity to learn the enemy languages so that you could use spies. imagine a rogue that knows the enemy language (through some crazy task that decodes enemy conversations); they could use valuable info. Sad thing is games don't really get to that level of strategy; maybe one day.
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Old 06-21-2008, 04:19 PM   #6
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You can use spies and espionage in Civilization III etc, why not Warcraft? There'd have to be a way to eliminate the spies though (maybe enemy faction if they discover a spy can take away that ability or something else. I'll admit I've never played WoW, so I'm not sure exactly what players are capable of doing to other players)
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Old 06-21-2008, 04:55 PM   #7
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I had cultural exchange (with a robust language development/sharing system) as a central part of an MMO I was tinkering with. I'd love to see what Richie G's take on language-mechanics is.
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Old 06-21-2008, 08:53 PM   #8
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As I said in the topic, there was a text-based game with an extensive Constructed Languge, but I can't find it on Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...anguages#Games
Of course, it also doesn't have Tabula Rasa's.

@TimEdwards: http://enterzon.com/
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Old 06-22-2008, 10:51 PM   #9
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I would, to be honest, be much more interested in what the social aspect of having to develop a language and share ideas in a common space with uncommon tools would be like for players...no matter how well they are done, authoritative alternate languages in games are just another prop...even if they are a pretty one.

Also, Tim, I was thinking - if there was a way to use voice chat and set up groups of people that need to communicate with each other, you'd have a nice setup for language learning along the lines you were talking about, without the programming burden. I mean, you encourage people to communicate live in different languages while being able to use resources and actions in the environment to communicate the idea that, say, a word or phrase represents. you feel me?
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Last edited by MessiahSimple : 06-22-2008 at 10:53 PM.
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Old 06-25-2008, 05:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MessiahSimple View Post
I had cultural exchange (with a robust language development/sharing system) as a central part of an MMO I was tinkering with. I'd love to see what Richie G's take on language-mechanics is.
I just talked to G, he had some interesting things to say. I'll see if I can collate my notes and get it up somewhere.
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