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Coming Up With Names

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How do you all come up with your names? I always have trouble coming up with names that don't sound cheesy, and sometimes I just resort to a random name generator. That said, I need some help coming up with a name for a huge imperialist empire. It is going to be like a Fire Emblem type game, and I'm trying to think of a name that at least sounds like a real name, but also has a fantasy element in it, just not too far fetched.

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Mixing realistic and fantastic names is tough, unless you work with both a first name and surname. Here's a few quick ones off the top of my head.


  • Fantasy

    • Kanall

    • Harnu

    • Ugann



  • Realistic

    • Jack

    • Kane

    • Napoleon (Why not.)


  • Compromised

    • Lance

    • Orlando

    • Vincent





I think up names based on the mood I feel from their sound. Chuck sounds like a stronger man than Skip, and Mary sounds friendlier than Amber. Hard 'K' or 'T' sounds always contribute well to the names of intimidating characters. Our four letter friends are certainly harsh sounding. [smile]

I even wrote an article on names in games you may find interesting. Glad you asked about this, because names are important.

Hope this info helped.

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It's going to be evil.
zyrolasting:
I do the same thing, I just run off a list of random vowels and syllables, picking ones that sound right. I never really bothered to understand which mix of syllables fit what theme though, I will have to look into that.

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I was just trying to see whether names with no vowel would appear more
unfriendly.

Is the empire evil to the outsider or to its own people?


Azkina Erdine

Context: This is a name for a sophisticated imperial empire with a rich
ancient history and culture. Many of its arts are secretive, deadly and
incomprehensible.

Azkina is an adjective that describes a calm lake that reflects the land.
In the creation myth, the land that this lake reflected was originally
above the lake. The people of the land above saw their reflection on the
lake, and decided to settle, creating the land that now exists.

Erdine is a type of rare crystal with endless layers and patterns within.
In the myth, these crystals contain wisdom and they grow when people
gain new wisdom from studying it. These crystals were described to be
as big as a fist. It was specified that only the decendents of the people
above may use them.

Meaning of Azkina Erdine:
The original reflection of the crystal

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Quote:
Original post by Wai
I was just trying to see whether names with no vowel would appear more
unfriendly.
To me that immediately brought to mind Welsh road signs. Celtic languages written in the latin alphabet seem to distinctly underutilise vowels [smile]

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Try using real names based on the setting: when writing about, say, medieval England, you can reference the Domesday Book (http://www.domesdaybook.co.uk). It's chock full o' 11th century tidbits.

When I write a science fiction story, I use names that are only one step removed from real-world names (Zenna instead of Jenna; Clide instead of Clyde). That way, they're easy to remember and pronounce.

I always make sure the names sound as if they belong in the same culture, too. Allyn and Seria could be brother and sister of an advanced civilization. Zooog, on the other hand, can only be a caveman out on a mammoth hunt.

Here's a good article on the topic:

http://www.writing-world.com/romance/names.shtml

- Theobroma

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The name France came from the throwing weapon, Francisca, that the peoples (the Franks) in the region utilized in warfare to draw their future country's lines.

Name it after a weapon, or artifact of importance.

England is named after the Anglo-Saxons (a peoples) - "Ang"-land went to England.

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Hi guys, this is my first post here at gamedev ^^
I've been working on my first game, and, just as in writing any story, I also have difficulty with names. And with English being my second language, albeit "native level", I think there are still some differences in how I perceive sounds. That may be an advantage or disadvantage, or maybe either, that it's just different.

At first, I just made up random names that sounded right, though some characters have had several name changes...

So I thought I'd visit some name definition websites, where they tell you a name's definition and possible/likely origins. There, I would select a name origin, say, Gaelic, then click on a random letter that I think my character's name should start with, click on an available name, then check the definition. Then I would see if the definition fits what I'd like my character to be. I'd then make my own variation of names based on that name, or mix names to get partial-real names, resulting in, I suppose, a fantastic name.

Just for fun, I'll try one now :D
I like Gaelic names because they feel like they fit into the medieval scene real well, and are not so typical from what we've already been exposed to, like "Aurthor".

"Allene" is a Gaelic female name, meaning "attractive", "peaceful", while "Cecelia" is another female name, meaning "blind". So.. attractive + peaceful + blind... perhaps a mix of the names might be "Aicelen", possibly a name fit for a princess who is either blind due to her attractiveness, or blind to her own attractiveness....

Also, I think that just as the name should sound right and has a ring to its tone for the ear, the shape of the name has a similar role for the eyes. I mean shape as in what the word looks like based on its composition of letters.

But naming places is a whole 'nother story for me ><! I dunno how :(

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I tend you use borrowing as means of selecting names for place and people. Either using words or phonemes that convey a particular trait or characteristic that I want to associate with that person or place. Places and Organization tend to either have hard or lyrical titles. So I’d choose a title with 2 two to 4 words in it.

For an Empire name:

The Domain of Iron - Cold hard, imperial, strict.
The Exalted Order – Divine mandate, religious over tones, and deep on ceremony.
Masters or the Seven Winds – Expansionist, trade focused, navel forces.

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I use www.babynames.com. There are a lot of interesting names off-the-shelf.

Very common names may not sound alien enough.

But you can easily run headfirst into banality by throwing together random syllables.

Mix in some random apostrophes and deem thyself Mediocretes.

You need to strike a balance between being so familiar that it doesn't sound alien enough, or being so alien that it has no "feel" or worse, looks like you threw together random syllables. Kt'Blath!

While there is a "search by definition" function on many sites, I only use it to arbitrarily narrow a pool. Nobody knows what names mean.

Searching by ethnicity is often a little useful when you realize that its already done so much that people have strong associations between types of names, competely independent of national or cultural stereotypes. Every notice how many "men in black" have English names like Smith, Johnson, Anderson? I dunno why, but the patterns are there. You can use them.

The characters in my current pet project are named Ada, Aldan Keen and Ranger Gus.

[Edited by - JoeCooper on April 1, 2010 5:11:58 PM]

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Try to look into (present) Mongolian names. I love those, they're just insane:
Dolgorsuren Dagvadorj (aka Asashoryu, Yokozuna rank Sumo wrestler)
Munkhbat Davaajargal (aka Hakuho, Yokozuna rank Sumo wrestler)

Some South-East Asian names sound wicked too. Names of recent and ancient cultures can be a good starting point too. Or even names of places, just take a look at Pol Pot's life on wiki. Tons of cool names, which doesn't even sound Asian:

Prek Sbauv
Norodom Sihanouk
Sak Sutsakhan
angkar padevat

just some examples.

Wow, I have my read for tonight! I love those names.

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Personally I find anagrams to work really well. Just take a name or any other word and flip some letters. I was writing on a road trip once and got stuck on a name for a faction. I looked over to a liquor store and thought, ah-ha!, there it is, so I settled on "Qourli"

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One way to do it would be to using a markov model to generate names. Here is one site that does it:

http://www.quick-name-generator.com/

I am sure with some googling you could find an appropriate algorithm, and then seed it with a mix of "normal" names and fantasy names and see what pops out. At the very least, it could give you some inspiration.

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Actually You may already know this but try searching baby name registeries and mix and match words/names. For example if you are using japanese based you can reseach the meaning of te words and make your own names better. Sorry if that didn't help.

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