[MUD-Dev] In-Game Languages

Eli Stevens {KiZurich} c718157 at showme.missouri.edu
Sun Apr 4 16:07:52 CEST 1999

> From: mud-dev-admin at kanga.nu [mailto:mud-dev-admin at kanga.nu]On Behalf Of
> Chris Gray

> This is an interesting technique. Certainly faster than others I've
> heard of. I'm curious as to how you came up with it. Is there some
> linguistic basis behind needing only ten letters? Certainly the full
> 26 aren't really needed, but I'm surprised that only 10 are. Can you
> give some of the "philosophy" behind this, or was it mostly trial and
> error to produce something that works as desired?

I originally wrote something similar to this back in high school (all of
three or four years ago now :), so the details of how i thought it up are
mostly fuzzy.

I chose ten because all of the array indices would be single digits, keeping
the tables nice and neat.  Necessity is the mother of invention.  :P

Basically, I thought "What words sound like they are Elven?"  ...  Allow me
to quote from The Fellowship of the Ring, chapter: Farewell to Lorien:

   Ai!  laurie lantar lassi surinen,
   Yeni unotime ve ramar aldaron!
   Yeni ve linte yuldar avanier
   Nai elya hiruva. Namarie!

The things that stand out, to me, are the abundance of vowels, few "hard"
sounds (as in English D, K, X, T, B, etc.), and the common soft consonants
(I do not know if this is the correct term for them, but you can draw them
out smoothly): L, R, N, V, etc.

char elven[10] = { 'a', 'e', 'l', 'f', 'u', 'r', 'n', 'w', 'h', 'o' };

English translation of song above (Tolkien's):
   Ah! like gold fall the leaves in the wind,
Evlen from code snippet:
   au! uene wauu newu fae ueanel of fae rofu,

Looking back, if I wanted to make the code output more like Tolkien's, I
would remove the 'w', add 'y', perhaps a 'd', etc.

The code requires a lot of tweaking to the language array if it needs to be
"just right," but can be passably decent without much effort.  :)  One
downside to the tables being static is that all the languages end up with
very similar looking patterns.  Also, changing the tables to fix how one
language sounds could possibly corrupt the other ones, throwing them off
balance.  I recommend trying to change the tables as little as possible.

> How does someone with the given language skill read the output? Do they
> simply get the untranslated version, and others get the translated
> version?

Yes, most likely the Player object would be passed the text and a language
indicator.  The Player object would be responsible for determining how well
that Player could understand it, and translating (scrambling) it as needed.

> Does this work for written material too? (It could - you would just have
> to have a language flag on all text, and do the translation on final
> output to the player, so that a player could carry around a Dwarvish
> book, and finally read it after learning the skill.)

It could, and will, if/when i ever get anything close to a codebase up and
running.  :)  Hopefully this summer.  :)  Anyone is free to use the code,
and if you put it to good use, let me know.  I would like to see it.

One thing i look forward to is being able to name MUD locations after their
Elven meaning...  :)

Also, my thanks to Per Vognsen (Phaerus) for finding the post by KaVir.  :)

Silence is s't'ss' in Skaven ;)

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