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Languages
What about them?

This is a post for people who want to discuss ideas for changes to the way languages work in the game, and issues surrounding foreign language speakers. Let's see what you got.

Please include the original proposal/concern/message here so that people can know what the hell we're talking about.

Languages: Do not count towards the 'UE Cap', so any UE spent on them won't block UE that could be spent on Stats or Skills.

^ For reals?

Correct.

But obviously do not meta it. Your PC may or may not have motivations, patience, and so on to learn a new language.

For real. When we added the UE Cap and the related Re-Spec system for those at or over the UE Cap, we didn't want people to sacrifice points spent on languages so they could have more points in combat. So we decided that the best way to support their use was to make them not count towards the UE Cap.

This means that you want to invest in languages before you reach the UE Cap.

Since Mojo isn't doing it, I will.

Here's the original post, copied from the Town Hall topic request thread:

Languages.

They work great.

But presently there's nothing but severe disadvantages to accepting one out the gate instead of English, and very little advantages to investing a month + of UE into learning them.

Are there plans in the works to / can there be plans to:

- Lessen the learning curve on non-English speaking characters? For instance, make short sentences have a significantly lower chance of being scrambled compared to longer sentences? So you can say, "No" and likely be understood, but you can't say, "I don't think I would like that very much" and have a lower chance of being understood? Or make the UE investment a little less, so that people can start being understood after a few days? As it stands right now, you can be at 60% of the way to fluent, and still not be able to get a sentence out that isn't completely garbled. Or allow key words to always be unscrambled at lower levels? Words like 'no', 'yes', 'chyen' and 'help' which someone who had been studying and practicing English for three 3 weeks would be able to say without someone going, "What? I don't know what you mean by gjaiwegssasewg." when they say "hello".

- Leverage the existing code to provide more opportunities for non-english speakers? Namely opportunities that are only available to those who speak another language? Parts of town like Chinatown or Little Tokyo where you can't speak English and be understood by the NPCs? Race gangs? Multi-language jobs?

Johnny can correct me if I am wrong but I am very close to certain that the longer your sentence is, the more garbled it will be. The shorter, the less garbled. Also, shorter words get garbled less than longer, more complicated words.

Johnny is that correct?

I want to know if that's so too.

tcd waits for Johnny's answer alongside Slither.

I have understood people speaking a language I didn't even have one point in. If they spoke short little bits, so it definitely works that way.

Yes. Keep it simple, stupid.

It seemed so in some ways but I've also experienced the opposite. It almost seemed random which is why I mentioned I was curious.

I'm sure how bright someone is comes into play too.

Ah! KISS.

Better than KISF.

I've been incorporating that into my RP.

I mean foreigners tend to leave off non-critical words, right? Quite themely actually. Works well.

Personally, i feel the effect of certain languages are barely having an impact on the roleplay in the later stages of a character. They give nice extra's and quirks, but nothing more. I can curse and mutter in another language level stuff.

when you start out without english , it will have a big impact on the roleplay opportunities what you can and can't do. However , i feel that this is always resolved with people picking up English as soon as possible. I might be wrong here , but i suspect that having a character that does not speak english is unsustainable (and unfun) for a longer period of time. We do have pockets of each language and i assume it would be possible to scrape by working for those pockets of people. If you speak the right language. The idea of a hitman or "cleaner" that only speaks Japanese would be great when he ever gets arrested.

I for the life of me wouldn't be able to point you to an npc that spoke Farsi, Tagalog, Euro and Spanish. Japanese , Russian and Mixmash are a bit easier.

As someone who invested heavily into picking up a language, i'm pretty sure i've spoken that language only to players and never to npc's. i'm willing to bet that most npc's predate this language being implemented in the game. When i started , it excisted in the code , but not the help pages. This makes it hard for me to find a pocket of npcs / players that speak this language. Maybe we all need to start clamouring for Börst.

I have never been able to use the fact that i speak a language to my advantage. I think I might have been able to if i picked one of the more established languages that are linked to a faction.

I have never seen the fact that i don't speak a language be used against me. I think it would be themely to have some luitenant yell out something in a language and then have his underlings laugh at your stupid ass.

I'm certain this type of roleplay does happen and that players have been able to leverage their languages in factions. I would just love to know that its also possible for the other languages. Because i feel that some languages are dead.

@malfius: I'll let you know how it goes. ;)

@malfius:

From pieces I've picked up about languages, none of them are dead.

They may not be obvious down Fuller street for example but they are around.

Have I personally heard someone speaking Farsi? No, but that's around.

Never been able to use one to your advantage or disadvantage? There are Russian, Japanese, MixMash, Spanish, etc speaking NPC's that will speak in those languages in front of you and if you don't know it, that is a disadvantage isn't it? *wink*

Advantages, well, I can't really give those away. :) But basically, just knowing what an NPC is saying or what a PC is saying when they speak another language in front of you. Wouldn't that be an advantage?

ShinMojo, yes, do let us know. ;-)

(Question: As for languages, I was surprised when I saw that Chinese wasn't a language. We have Triads and many Chinese so I found that interesting. Is Chinese going to be added?)

Well so far what I can say is that it's a challenge, but it's not impossible at all.

For starters, there are a ton of ways to communicate that don't require speaking. What's more is there there can be great advantages for having an excuse to not be able to reply in the 'normal' ways that people expect you to. What I had to learn on my feet was how to turn that into an advantage, and eventually into RP opportunities instead of RP enders, and once I mastered that I started enjoying it instead of hating it.

Finally, there's huge opportunities with having a history that makes you a part of certain social circles that are ethnic based that would be unavailable though any other route, simply because of 'if you're not born into it you're not a member' mentalities. As a completely contrived example: You're never going to get in solid with the KKK when your skin is black as night.

And of course, the experiment is an ongoing one, with new lessons being learned all the time. All in all, I've found that for every disadvantage, there is an equal or greater advantage available, if you're willing to put the time into figuring out what it is.

For that reason, it would be pointless for someone who's brand new to the game to even attempt it, but if you're a reasonably seasoned player and want to take your RP to the next level, I have not yet found it's equal in terms of difficulty and reward. Of course I'm pretty new at this myself, so don't take it straight from me as truth.

ShinMojo wrote:

For starters, there are a ton of ways to communicate that don't require speaking. What's more is there there can be great advantages for having an excuse to not be able to reply in the 'normal' ways that people expect you to.

- -

Cliche High-Five to ShinMojo. :D

It was very fun to not only try to figure out what someone was trying to say to me when they knew virtually no English, but to then convey my own thoughts to them when speaking on it's own wouldn't do it. (Besides, many times words tell you one thing while the body tells you another, if you know how to look [& pose/emote], right?)

NPCs do not predate languages. Languages have been around for a long time and we have applied "mixmash' specifically to certain NPCs on Red who ONLY speak that. There are also organizations within the city who, without giving away IC information, use their native languages when communicating with their employees.

Yes, languages are under utilized because they are more fun to RP than they are to use a coded system for in my opinion. However, they are accessible. If you want to find NPCs that speak other languages-- ask 'em!

I'm open to hearing ways we could make languages better!

Never mind about my query into Chinese. I reread a bit on languages and history.

I know some npc's that speak multiple languages so they are around.

@Slither

I'll think on that.

But better in what way?

The problem with RP'd language is its too easy for the generating player to bullshit their own inventions up that then rely on the opposing players not having the same ooc understanding of what was being said. It becomes an OOC advantage, taking us in the direction we want to avoid where ooc knowledge trumps your character's knowledge and abilities.

I agree it becomes an OOC advantage.

My own suggestions would be to make them easier to learn, but then again, we don't wanna take the edge off possessing a language that eavesdroppers don't have ;)

@kuzco

Languages are actually easy to learn already. (UE point = %learned of language - see Languages under @assign ue)

Plus there are cyberware options to help you understand and I think skillsoft chips?

-- --

I like how the languages are set up so you need to switch to that language to speak it. That way, if your character knows the language and you don't, you will still understand it. It's not fair for someone to say Hello in Farsi for example where You don't know it as Hello as a player (OOC'ly) but your character would and so you draw a blank when another character says: Salaam, haale shoma chetore?

The admins should add chinese as a supported language....

There's a reason Chinese isn't a language. If you read the lore, Asia is basically just Japan now. They all speak Japanese. (If I'm remembering right. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.)

Maybe read the lore like you suggested...?

Well, the only reason I ask that is because I am taking chinese IRL, and i want to put it to good use. *laughs*

You do understand that 'coded language support' is still in English, right?

They could add Chinese, which as they pointed out, is a dead language now, and you still wouldn't get to use your Chinese skills at all because everything is still in English.

I'd much rather they add support for languages to the rest of the game and fleshed out the existing use of languages, rather than dilute the pool with new languages. For instance, the TV doesn't support languages: Everything is perfectly understandable when someone speaks to you through an EyePod, even if you don't know the language. There's no support on e-notes or on the grid, or printed materials, which limits use of these for foreign language speakers in very immersion breaking ways, because they have no good recourse.

For the grid, I just sort of figure it has a translation tool built in.

In a sense much as we have now.

Other languages? I have an idea...

Make such assumptions, and you'll have the GM's reminding you that you're doing it wrong.

Same thing goes for rhyming on the SIC: Don't do it. It's not language, it's ideas. Don't ask me for clarification either, my eyes go crosseyed every time.

Rhyming: It is fine and that's in another thread.

It's RP.

Let's support RP and remain (somewhat) on topic here.

Slither wrote:

I'm open to hearing ways we could make languages better!

Maybe after a while, you automatically return to your "native" language? English for most.

OR

A language you choose as a default language (I'm not referring to the one you choose as your main language when you're making your character. But instead a language of your choice for a default.).

Pro would be if you were using a different language, you would automatically revert to the "default" language after a while of not speaking.

Con would be if it reverted to your Native, then you may end up talking in Russian or Spanish or other language instead of English or other one you want.

- -

I have a feeling that if we understood a different language that was spoken on tv then we would understand what was said as a viewer. I don't know if this is the case since I haven't experienced that (yet) but how about in written form?

If my feeling on hearing a language on tv is true and you would undetstand it, then how about for letters and e-notes, the possibility of writing in another language?

When you write a letter (e-notes may not have other language files at the moment *wink*), if you know other languages, it would be nice to be given the option to write in a different language.

Then another person who READS the letter would have to understand the same language in order to read the letter (or hire someone to translate it for them).

This can open up another area of RP.

Oh, even being able to write using more than one language on the letter eventually. Start in English, throw in a Farsi line or three, then end it or continue in English.

OR

Make those 3 or 4 language bulletin boards. Then a person could only understand the sections they have the language of.

Just some thoughts.

TCD

The most intuitive language system I've ever seen allowed you to switch languages on the fly with a simple character thrown into the mix.

When you emoted or posed, anything in quotation marks was converted into speech. This already happens on Sindome. For sake of simplicity, anything in quotation marks was automatically English, even if your English is not very good.

If you wanted to speak Russian, all you had to do was, "[RHeya mate. Herp derp. I'm speaking Russian!" Might seem needlessly complicated compared to 'speak russian' and then spewing off in Russian... but it allows super complex things to happen too.

.look over at Yvanne and grin. "You hear about muscle-headed immy just came to city? About as bright as burnt goat brains. [RHe would make a perfect patsy for the job. [EWhat think you?"

With a single blip of info added into your speech, you switched to Russian in the middle of your command, then switched back to English without a hitch. I'm not an expert, but this seems like it would be an easier fix to the issue off languages not working over televisions too. Instead of having to individually fetch info about which language was being spoken from each character each time they spoke, that info would already be contained within the speech.

The flaw behind this system is when you screw up your language command. "[TI'm speaking Russian and this baka don't even know it!" -- This would actually make you try to speak in Tagalog, making you look like an idiot... [E would make you speak English, also making you look stupid. [F, right below, would drop Farsi like it was going out of style. Most of our languages start with characters located next to each other on the keyboard, with only Spanish being separated entirely from other languages. It would also require something nonintuitive to switch between Euro and English.

Still, far more creatively freeing than having to switch languages between emotes and poses.

The idea that you can understand foreign languages you don't know, when someone says them on TV and you're watching, is not IC.

It's a bug that is very hard to solve.

Don't interpret it as a technical miracle where your IC TV knows what languages you know, and gives YOU one you can understand while others in the room might be perceiving still-different languages on the SAME TV.

That just doesn't make sense.

So if you're watching TV (or a security monitor), and you have some way of KNOWING that a speaker on the screen is speaking in a language you know your character can't understand, ignore their speech. Suspend your own disbelief.

We recognize that more-often, you DON'T know that the other person is speaking an incomprehensible language.

It doesn't create problems very often, but if anyone ever has any doubt, contact GMs on xhelp for refereeing. These doubts usually come in the form of "HEY - I was talking Farsi and this other character used the information - Are they metagaming? Can you tell them they can't know that fact from seeing me talk about it in Farsi on TV?" And this will be surprising to some and unsurprising to others, but, the suspect player usually found out the questionable information in some completely legitimate way which the complainer doesn't know about. But we do assist for fairness's sake.

It doesn't actually come up very often.

I think a pretty viable option was suggested to the 'very hard to solve' problem by Slither. Specifically the idea of adding the encoding of the language to the string itself so it can be transmitted over any medium without that code having to change, and it can get handled at the last moment on the player itself where there's context of the player and what languages they understand. That way you can still garble it when the player speaks it depending on their speaking skill, and garble it again when the hear it depending on their listening skill. You could just start by adding it as a final step in the hearing code, and see what breaks, and then work the change into the speaking code, so everything they say would be prefaced with the default language their speaking, but can switch to a different language mid-sentence.

I like this solution because it can go in as an overlay to the existing solution leveraging the massive support for spoken language available to provide a new level of immersion and RP opportunities while addressing the problem of spoken language in e-notes, letters, and other devices.

"a pretty viable option was suggested to the 'very hard to solve' problem by Slither"

It was? I don't see it, but I do see what you're describing.

It was Stygian, not Slither.

I would like to resurface the idea of being able to write in a foreign language.