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Silvermyst

Cavemen communication

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Setting: Prehistoric Earth Genre: MMO(RPG) Goal: Simple communication between cavemen Preferred method of communication: Grunting Examples of some necessary grunts: -hello -who are you? -my name is Krug -where are you? -I'm over here -get away from me -alarm! -wanna fight? -help! -goodbye The way I see this work is that players assign each grunt to a specific button. When a cavemen grunts, other players should be able to determine what their grunt meant, but for players who think that's too hard, there will be an option to have the grunt automatically translated into on-screen text. Question: What other messages will cavemen absolutely have to be able to communicate to others with their grunts? [edited by - Silvermyst on August 14, 2002 10:09:24 AM]

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Why make it easy to understand?

Deffrent grunts has deffrent meanings.
why not make the player have to learn what every grunt means..
And create a simple language lesson so one has a idea.

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quote:
Original post by Silvermyst
Setting:
Prehistoric Earth


By definition, "prehistoric" is the time before the appearance of humans, I think. "Stoneage" is the correct term as far as I know. (damn having English as a second language!)

Apart from that, communication about food ("I''ve found some fruit" or "Here''s an animal we could hunt", "no food here", etc.) is important.

Try finding information on the communication of apes, especially chimpanzees. An immense amount of research has gone into that topic, and you can - for your game - assume that stoneage humans communicated in a similar fashion. If you can''t find anything at all on the net, I might still have some information from my high school advanced biology classes when I go back home, we did animal behaviour and communication for half a year... (write me an e-mail if you need it)

- hillip@xenoage.de''>JQ
Full Speed Games. Period.

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I think grunts would be too hard to interpret. Instead of varying the grunts, why not just use gutteral syllables? That way all of the phrases don''t sound similar.

You could probably come up with a dozen based on "consonant + a", ba, da, ga, ka, etc... same with "consonant + o + (k,t,d)": nok tok, and I sound like an idiot.

But you get the idea.

-TSwitch

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JONNYQUEST wrote:
quote:
By definition, "prehistoric" is the time before the appearance of humans

Hm, I think ''prehistoric'' just means ''before history was being recorded''.
quote:
Apart from that, communication about food ("I''ve found some fruit" or "Here''s an animal we could hunt", "no food here", etc.) is important.

Yes! And add to that ''shelter''.
Eat and sleep will probably be the two most important things in a (prehistoric) caveman''s life.
quote:
Try finding information on the communication of apes, especially chimpanzees.

Yeah, I had thought of that, and the possibility of adding body language to the mix.

SNASH wrote:
quote:
Why make it easy to understand?

Because the easier the basics are to understand, the more elaborate the advanced communication can become without confusing players.
quote:
Deffrent grunts has deffrent meanings.
why not make the player have to learn what every grunt means..

Good idea. ''Cavemen grunts for dummies''
Part of the grunt concept though, is that ideally each caveman would be able to customize his grunts a little, so that they all sound unique in-game. In a perfect situation, there would be no rules of what each grunt means. Each grunt would mean what the caveman grunting wants it to mean. To one, a short, low grunt might mean ''hello'' while to another it might mean ''goodbye''. It''s up to the players to customize their grunts so that other players will be able to figure them out. Because that will mean a lot of puzzling, I think it might be helpful to display the meaning of a grunt on the screen. Perhaps this should only happen after a caveman has grunted the same message a few times.

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Also, if it''s going to be massively multiplayer, you''d have to assume that people will congregate, and if everyone sounds the same, then you will have trouble telling who talking (assuming the only chat is through this system).

You can either allow text chat within certain areas that people will meet in groups at, or vary the voices like in Rogue Spear. The sound is just played slightly faster or slower to modify it''s pitch. That, facial animation and 3d sound should be used to let people know who''s talking.

Or, instead of translating the sound into text for the player, displaying a symbol over the speaker''s head would allow people to understand others without removing the translation challenge.


-TSwitch

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i think perhaps your system of communication should convey emotions rather than specific messages... think of how people even nowadays use intonation in their speech to convey a particular meaning...

"ooOOoo" is a better way of conveying interest than something like "ug", but "ug" might be more useful at indicating something (akin to "look") though it would need to be accompanied by a physical gesture like a nod of the head or pointing...

in situations such as "alarm", "get away from me" and "wanna fight" i think volume also has a part to play... in the first two cases the sound needs to be a rapid sort of "e-e-e-e-e" (or similar) to indicate urgency and also loud to emphasise the point... "get away from me" and "wanna fight" would need to have their volume directed at an individual and should sound similar to something like "sod off!" or "oy you!" respectively...

essentially the sounds need to convey an idea or emotion rather than a specific meaning... it seems you''re missing fear, hunger, loneliness, sorrow and happiness off your list... as well as others probably...

hope that all makes sense... let me know if it''s utter tripe though ''cos it''s just my opinion...

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PAULUS_MAXIMUS wrote:
quote:
i think perhaps your system of communication should convey emotions rather than specific messages

Yes! If pressing button X creates a certain visible emotion (anger/fear/etc) it would create many new options, for as the sound that is tied to the emotion that button X triggers is made by the caveman, at the same time his body language can come into the picture.
(pressing button X would result in
a) sound
b) automatic body language change)

I guess Jonnyquest's suggestion of studying chimps (the way they vocally communicate, the way they visually communicate) would really pay off.

And of course, searching the database of this Game Design forum would pay off as well, because I clearly remember some threads about conveying character emotion.

[edited by - Silvermyst on August 14, 2002 11:56:47 AM]

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he-hey... i got a "Yes!"...

that''s my best ever score for a post i reckon... :D...

been thinking a little more about it too... are the characters going to be able to be clicked on? the reason i ask is that you could also convey mood via a selection indicator that shows green for happy, blue for sad, red for angry, yellow for scared, etc... just a thought, but it could be used as a nice way to get an instant impression of what they''re thinking without worrying particularly about what they''re saying...

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TSWITCH wrote:
quote:
you''d have to assume that people will congregate, and if everyone sounds the same, then you will have trouble telling who talking

and
quote:
Or, instead of translating the sound into text for the player, displaying a symbol over the speaker''s head would allow people to understand others without removing the translation challenge.

Good thinking. My whole reasoning behind creating simple sounds was to do away with writing text without ever hearing anyone speak (current MMORPGs have hundreds of chat options, but I''ve yet to hear a character utter a word). But, a computer is limited. There is no real good way to let a player know exactly where the sound is coming from (surround sound helps, but I personally don''t have a surround sound setup). Part of the cavemen setting implies that characters will not gather in quite as large numbers as I''ve seen happen in MMORPGs. But hunting parties (''let''s go get ourselves some mammoth meat'') would have to be able to quickly tell who ''said'' what.

The symbol you mentioned could serve a dual purpose:
a) show who''s making the sound
b) show what type of sound is being made (symbol could take on different forms; circle, square, triangle, etc; each form could convey a different emotional state)

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