[MUD-Dev] In-Game Languages

Hans-Henrik Staerfeldt hhs at cbs.dtu.dk
Fri Apr 9 14:19:35 CEST 1999

On Sat, 3 Apr 1999, Eli Stevens (KiZurich) wrote:

> I have a snippet of code that I would like to share, get feedback on, s=
ee if
> anyone else has similar ideas, etc.  What it does is translate a line o=
> ANSI English text (it will still work on non-English text that uses the=
> character set, but not quite as well) into a fake "language."

As many of the posts in this thread have focused on, the representation
of a foreign language by transformation of the text has many pros and
cons. Pro is the idea of introducing the language as an in-game setting,
with the sounds that you choose. A con to this, is that players could
write translators to automatically translate the text once the algorithm
is 'hacked'. The intention seem to be that this allows for the player to
slowly 'learn' the language.=20

However, another way of looking at this, is another aspect of how a
foreign language is experienced by a person, and try to let the game show
this. When i listen to french and german (languages i am not extensibly
familiar with) what i experience is ofcause the stream of sounds that the
other approaches are trying to emulate, but what i recognise are usually
_whole_ words. A way to represent a language barrier (if that is what you
want) may be to let it depend on the characters language skill so that
the better the character is at understanding the language, the more
whole words are written in plain. The seed for which words are plain
should be playe dependant, and should depend on word size. What i propose
is that the rest is simply exchanged with '.'. This will also let the
player help eachother piece together a sentence, as if they knew differen=
words in the language, but mostly they will have a hard time on the longe=
words, if they are not skilled.

If you wanted to put some 'colour' on this, you should make a 'common
mistake' table for each language where words are written up that have
'special' meaning, or for some reason or are assumed to sound alike
phonetically (in the language), or wording having meaning other than the
litteral translation. Also a list of the most common words that are often
used and easily learned would be a good idea.

F.inst. in dwarven, focusing on caves, tunnels and rocks:
"safe" <-> "sturdy","stable"
"home" <-> "cave"
"king" <-> "chieftan"
"brittle" <-> "as sandstone"
"iron" <-> "rock blood"

In elven
"home" <-> "mother-tree"
"arrow" <-> "deer-seeker"
"wood" <-> "foot" (who knows, they might sound alike in even as well...)
"iron" <-> "poison"

In french
"90" <-> "five-twenty-ten"
(yeah, thats how they say it....)

... and so on. This will give people, not entirely cabable of
understanding a language a flavour of the ethnicity you are trying to
project in your world.=20

Ofcause you might also get a similar garbling of the language if a
non-proficient player tries speaking a non-native language=20
(stay away from long words !!).

Ofcause such a scheme requires check for misspellings, and preferably a
large database of substitutions, as well as the players might not even
want it!

Hans Henrik St=E6rfeldt         | =20
email: bombman at diku.dk        |  voice:      +45 40383492=20
  hhs at cbs.dtu.dk              |  voice work: +45 45252425
phone-mail:                   |  address:
  40383492 at sms.tdm.dk         |       Hans Henrik St=E6rfeldt,
WWW-home                      |       Dybendalsvej 74 2. th,
  http://www.cbs.dtu.dk/hhs/  |       2720 Vanl=F8se, Danmark.
Student of Computer Science   | Scientific programmer at Center for
  and Information Psychology. |   Biological Sequence Analysis,
  at University of Copenhagen |   Technical University of Denmark.

MUD-Dev maillist  -  MUD-Dev at kanga.nu

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