The Dink Network

How to handle a foreign language in a d-mod?

October 19th 2014, 02:31 AM
Peasant He/Him United States
To be clear I'm not talking about translating d-mods to (or from) French, or anything like that, I mean in a story where people speaking another language is a plot element and Dink has to interact with them.

So obviously I've been working on something like this, (or was, I took a break recently) anyway I wondered what you all thought about this.

On the one extreme, I could make actually learn the language. Obviously only on a very superficial level, kind of like you might see in a tourist handbook. But I have a feeling most people still wouldn't have the patience (and that may well include me, if I was playing rather the writing it).

On the other extreme, you encounter them, I throw some gobbledegook at you and Dink can't respond with anything but "Huh? I don't understand." Then you "learn" the language at a certain point and everything just gets translated to English. And that just seems totally boring.

Any ideas what the happy middle-ground might be? I think my ideal would be where you have to actually know just a word or two for some key interaction, and then it mostly takes care of the rest automatically. But at the same time it should leave the untranslated language exposed enough that you could potentially could gain some extra advantage by learning a little more.

I'm just not sure how to make that happen mechanically, or logically.
October 19th 2014, 03:55 AM
Bard He/Him Netherlands
I object 
The idea of learning a language being a plot element sounds quite interesting. If I were to try and get to a middle ground between the player learning the language and the character learning the language I would kinda take it as an important plot element. For example you could make every NPC just speak English but leave a few important nouns (or verbs) untranslated. So a character could tell Dink: 'I want you to *mort* the *verd* bonca.' Dink can only understand what that means after he learns that *mort* means hug and *verd* means brown.

You could let the player learn different collections of verbs or nouns over the course of the DMOD. (Probably just have a couple of groups of words such as colors, days of the week, small objects, large objects, actions and creatures. You could even make the words have different meanings between different playthroughs for added replayability so in one instance you'd have to hug the bonca, in another you'd have to kill it and in a final one you'd have to feed it. The player only discovers this after he finds the collection needed to do the next set of quests.

That would be kinda the middle ground for me if I wanted to really make it into a plot element.
October 19th 2014, 07:38 AM
Peasant He/Him
I disagree. 
There is a dmod where dink must learn to read, before he can interact with a sign. Cannot remember the name of it. It's not exactly the same thing, but you can get an idea for script maybe. Interesting idea though.
October 19th 2014, 01:28 PM
Peasant He/Him United States
Some good ideas there metatarasal. I don't think making it change between playthroughs is something I'd be concerned with (It's not actually that big a part of the d-mod), but that does sound interesting if one wanted to make a story with this as the major focus.

But the device of leaving a few words untranslated sounds like something I might be able to use.
October 21st 2014, 12:26 AM
Peasant He/Him United States
Another aspect of this I'm trying to figure out is how should the player be able to respond. I'd like to give them a chance to try and talk even when Dink doesn't know the language too well, but it's kind of silly to be able to select meaning fully dialog choices--even by chance--when you have absolutely no idea what you're saying. But on the other hand, Dink it a pretty silly game, so maybe it's okay.
October 22nd 2014, 07:36 AM
Peasant He/Him Belgium
In the New Shores d-mod I used a lame as hell "Ring" or "Amulet" that autotranslates what is said to Dink and what Dink says... I guess it could work if introduced better and perhaps if it has some gameplay or story impact.