Dev Blog: Finalized look of VizionEck's language

Started by Legend, Mar 17, 2015, 02:01 AM

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Legend

Two days ago I hinted about this in the hype thread. I've redesigned the look of VizionEck's writing. Now that I've ironed out some bugs, I'd like to formally introduce it here.




If you're not familiar with izeyoza, VizionEck's in game language, then here's a quick recap of the game's lore. The cubes prominently featured in the multiplayer are robots. All robots need makers though, and thus there is a second character type I've yet to reveal. These "builders" have grown up and evolved in VizionEck's world with strange black surfaces and colored lines. It should go without saying that the builders have never had contact with humans, since people and Earth don't even exist in this alternate universe.

One of the big features of VizionEck is its commitment to the game's deep and expansive lore. So because the builders wouldn't realistically speak English, it'd be a copout to just have them speak English. It would also be a copout to make their language a cypher, like the vast majority of games do. In a quest for perfection I spent over three years working on a language from the ground up. This included simulating millions of years of builder history and evolution, just to make sure the language matched the beings who spoke it. I also studied a lot of human languages to make sure I didn't just reinvent swahili.

The crux of this is that VizionEck features a fully constructed language unlike anything on Earth. Only a few games have ever attempted something like this, and from my research izeyoza is more developed than all the other game languages combined.* I think that statistic does a good job at showing just how much work and effort has gone into overengineering this language. This attention to detail extends to all parts of the game, but that's a conversation for later.


If you've been following VizionEck's development for a while, you've probably noticed the language looks a lot different than it used to. Here's what the language first looked like when the game was announced:



I think it actually looked pretty good back then, and it would have probably gone into the final game that way...

...if it wasn't for me losing most of the language. I had stored almost all of the language in a notebook. No word editing software in the world could type the language so drawing izeyoza by hand seemed like a good idea at the time. To make the image above, I used 3D modeling software to make a render of the text. Took almost an hour for just that short amount of writing. Way too long for 100 page books written in izeyoza! So yeah even after that I kept working on the language in a notebook.

I lost that notebook somehow last December. Work on the language has always been on and off so I believe it was accidentally thrown away when I reorganized my office, and I just didn't notice it was missing until after the trash had been picked up. (yes I went "dumpster" diving anyway. This journal had a lot!)

At the time I tried rebuilding with what I had, which ended up producing this version of the language:



Just wasn't as good though. The writing was too dense, too general, too convoluted, etc. It had lost its charm. Plus it had major issues with the game's lore! A written language can be scored in 5 categories, in my opinion.

1 Information Density: how much space it takes up to convey a thought.

2 Information Clarity: how easily can the text be read and not confused with other text. At a distance on a foggy day while viewing the text on a sideways slanted billboard covered in splotches of mud, can it be read?

3 Typing speed: how fast a person can write the text. This heavily depends on the tools at the time. Computers have made this category less important.

4 Text complexity: how easy it is to learn and remember.

5 Personal enjoyment: how much the writer and reader like the writing system.


The advanced builder civilization would have an advanced language to go along with them. With thousands of years of evolution, the writing system should score highly on all of these. However at #2 it was a big blunder. There's basically zero variance between areas. At the distance the text would be just a grey blurry mess. Meanwhile english for example is a collection of blurry lines with varying darkness at a distance. Pretty hard to read, but at least possible to guess what the text says. Also even up close this izeyoza writing is hard to distinguish one area from another. Basically it just has issue after issue in this category.

So when I had to redo a lot of work from losing the notebook, I decided to just redo the writing system while I was at it. Most of the changes were cosmetic. Here's another example of the final writing system:



It looks so much better in my opinion, and does an excellent job at all 5 categories of judging a writing system. It has great information density, much much better than English. Great clarity too, as there is a lot of redundancy in the writing. Again better than English, but only a bit better. English is just an extremely good language at this. Izeyoza is bad at writing speed by hand. The language needs a cursive equivalent for that. However since the builders are an advanced civilization, they have much better tools than just pen and paper. The writing speed is great when using computers and the equivalent. The complexity is actually much simpler than it looks. There are more complex rules than in English, but the amount of memorization is a lot less. I personally love the look, so it aces the last category! ;)


With this finalized look comes a near finalized writing program as well. The language and writing system is so different than anything on Earth that no pre existing programs even came close to my needs. Scaling back izeyoza wasn't an option so I built my own writing software. It's written in Unity so that I can seamlessly include it in the game, but I also plan to integrate it into a webapp for this forum. That will allow members to easily analyze and discuss the language once the game launches.


For those interested, entirely optional, one of the big fun factors will be decoding the language. That means I can't answer all your questions and spoil the fun! I realise how bloody hard it would be to decode izeyoza without any hints, so I've scattered a bunch of clues around the game. A few of the language's mysteries are really easy to solve and are basically freebies to get the game going. I'll be happy to answer questions about the language that are part of these freebies. However they'll be put in spoilers just incase someone wants to go in fresh but still read the thread.

So ask any questions you'd like. I'm finally answering some of them!
  • He sucks at sales estimates and predictions

ethomaz

I really need to ask... is the first image some well positions for you know? jk

Cool but too complicated I guess.

the-pi-guy


I really need to ask... is the first image some well positions for you know? jk

Cool but too complicated I guess.

Cannot be unseen. 

Legend


I really need to ask... is the first image some well positions for you know? jk

Cool but too complicated I guess.


It's like a random ink blot test. What you see says a lot about you!
  • He sucks at sales estimates and predictions

BasilZero


I really need to ask... is the first image some well positions for you know? jk

Cool but too complicated I guess.


I got dat reference.

Legend

What do you guys think this one looks like?


  • He sucks at sales estimates and predictions

the-pi-guy


What do you guys think this one looks like?


Spoiler for Image:
<img src="http://media.vizioneck.com/images/Izeyoza_cat.PNG" alt="" class="bbc_img">


Master Shifu from Kung Fu Panda getting ready to make crazy moves!

Legend


Master Shifu from Kung Fu Panda getting ready to make crazy moves!


I see a mouse!
  • He sucks at sales estimates and predictions

BasilZero


ethomaz


Mmm_fish_tacos

You made a language from cat meme didn't you?

Dr. Pezus


I really need to ask... is the first image some well positions for you know? jk
Oh snap

Legend

I can kinda read it now, so that's a plus.
  • He sucks at sales estimates and predictions

 

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