Week 4 Log: Language Research
Hi again everybody!
As promised, a follow up to Week 3: Language Inquiry.
To further investigate how to integrate and design languages for games, I created a little simulation. The sim consists of 2 parts;
The first part: The player must make their way along a series of platforms. These platforms lead to 5 different signs. The first 4 bear runes with different words. Each word is a translation of a rune on the final sign. Once all runes are collected, and the player interacts with the final sign, the phrase is uncovered (“All Dragons Fly South”, previously “Maar Dracus Vin Laos” and a path to proceed is revealed. This is extremely simply language construction, just replacing English words with fantasy ones.
This example of language integration has potential for a lock-key mechanic, a foundation of game design. Single word use has also been seen in Skyrim, as a spell system (known ingame as “Thu’um). This approach to language design and integration looks to be the easiest, but is thus limited. It is fairly crude, and can be seen as such. Were the language to be used extensively throughout the game, it would need to be advanced, or detract from the overall quality of the game.
The second part: Continuing down the revealed path, the player reaches an NPC. The NPC says “Ji Na Venn Dross Va Mohl”. As the player finds signs that correspond to runes, and talk to the NPC, words are uncovered. When all nearby signs are used, the NPC says, “Ji Na Reached End Va Level”. While not entirely translated, the player is given enough contextual information to understand what is being said.
This system still uses single words, but hides the lack of grammar and syntax behind a wall of unknown words. By not introducing the player to all the intricacies of a language, you can pretend you have a full blown language while having simple word replacement . This system was used very well in Final Fantasy VII. FF7 also experimented with changing word order however, something that has come up in my research. The English Language uses a Subject-Verb-Object (SVO) ordering, while Japan uses a Subject-Object-Verb (SOV). <a href="http://www.draconinteractive.com.au/study-blog/cim406-blog-post-4-language-research#_ftn1" ]<1]<="" a=""></a>
The potential of this slightly more advanced system is high. Games where you cant interact with other civilisations until you can understand them. A return to a “no quest marker” quest system, where you have to figure out where to go based off your conversation with an NPC. This would make language very important. An NPC who says “Szi Dracus Vin Go Laos Mahasi” is incomprehensible, but an NPC that says “The Dragons Vin Go South Mahasi” is more challenging than impossible.
As to creating a more indepth and structurally sound language, there is a cost-benefit scale to analyse here, as it seems that language creation requires almost exponentially more time and resources to create, as its complexity increases. For every word, you now require syntax, and grammar. You then need to find standard order of operations and pluralisation. I may wish to experiment with my own characters if I develop my own syllables. All of these items seem to feed off of each other, each increasing the difficulty of the other. This is not to say that a complex language is an insurmountable task, only that should I wish to explore this, I will definitely need to set aside time and resources to do so.
I will definitely be experimenting more with this as I progress with the Eternal Series, so keep an eye out!
<a href="http://www.draconinteractive.com.au/study-blog/cim406-blog-post-4-language-research#_ftn1" ]<1]<="" a=""></a><a href="http://www.draconinteractive.com.au/study-blog/cim406-blog-post-4-language-research#_ftnref1" ]<1]<="" a=""> </a>https://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Language
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