I am not going to claim to be like J.R.R. Tolkien. I am not an expert linguist and all that. But it sure is fun to design new alphabets and languages.

Something that irks me with fictional languages is that alphabets are sometimes designed as something looks cool, but have next to no practicality. It wouldn’t be usable in the real world by humans / humanoids. Particularly egregious examples of this are the Precursor alphabet from the Jak and Daxter series and to a lesser extent, the Klingon alphabet from Star Trek. The Precursor alphabet is made of these big chunky letters with lots of filled in areas. Looks cool. Totally impractical if someone is writing by hand. The Klingon alphabet is not as bad, but with the way each letter tapers, would almost certainly require a paint brush to look right. Impractical.

Following that are your standard alphabet switches. Just get a new set of 26 letters and do a 1-1 switch with English. Lazy, but in many cases, perfectly fine. A kid show does not need an entire language with grammar rules designed for it. But it still irks me.

For this, I have designed 2 languages, a magic word system that is not a proper language to speak with (but is visually distinct from the other 2), and a counting system. Too much? Maybe. But it is fun. The counting system has actually been in my head for at least… 10 years. Just a fun little counting system I came up with that counts similarly to binary. A single vertical stick is 0. Add a line on the top right, 1. Remove that and add a line to the top left, 2. A line all the way across, 3. Remove all of that, single line from the middle right, 4. And repeat for the top line. Can get up to a value of 63 before you need a second digit.

And the languages actually do have grammar rules. One of the first things I worked on with the game was an alphabet. I went through a number of actual alphabets and wrote a down lists of the common features in each one. English is mostly long lines mixed with quarter circles. C is 2 quarter circles. O is 4. P is a line plus 2 quarter circles, etc. Been a couple years since I did this research so I seem to have forgotten the rest, but it doesn’t matter now. Anyway, I wrote Python scripts to generate 1000 images at a time using these features. Randomly mix up the features and generate images. I would scroll through the 1000 images and see if there were 20-30 images that were unique and worked well together. Adjust the script to enable or disable some of the features, run it again. Make adjustments to the spawn rate, location options. I should also note that the script would randomly choose a subset of the available features, so running the same script twice without adjustment could spawn image sets that were totally different. It was during this time that I was playing Tekken 7 and found an awesome helmet for Yoshimitsu that had writing down the face. Decided I wanted my language to look like Kanji. Adjusted the script, ran it, got 42 symbols and wrote a generator to make words with it. Designed the language, grammar rules. Loved it.

Well, 2 years later, I realized that this language was impractical. There was no way to tell in which order the sounds of the word should be pronounced. It was kind of a mess. So I decided to make a second language inspired by Hindi that would be a little more practical. I took several of the symbols from the Kanji language and reconfigured them to the new one. So the new one is sort of an evolution of the old one. Based on and built off of it, like Latin to Spanish or Olde English to modern English. Still in the world and in the game, but sort of overshadowed and dying out as the new language takes its place.

So we ended up with this. A character named Nothink Nukai Ogen Ahzshen. Just goes by Nukai Ahzshen. I will admit that I do not remember what the other two words stood for and I can’t be bothered to look them up right now. But “Nukai” is the name version of the word “Answer” and “Ahzshen” is the name version of illuminate. “Ahzshen” is derived from the word for light, “Arzsh”. Light as a name is “Arnen” and Illuminate as a verb is “Arzshen”. This character’s name was essentially ‘Answer Illuminate’.

Another character I made was “Hail Arnen”. A fire themed Conduit who was a religious fanatic, who was referred to as ‘Path of Light’ for the duration of the campaign. He died at the end in a fiery blaze, but my team bound his soul into a marionette, so he could potentially come back later.

Another week, another post addressed to nobody, that nobody will read.

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