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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 3:31 am 
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Example, do we use classic D'ni to write Descriptive Books or are the Great Words something else entirely? Anyone know?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 9:45 am 
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As far as we know, the Gahrohevtee are a wholly different writing system, probably (though we have no confirmation) something like the Japanese kanji (as opposed to katakana or hiragana). More than that, we don't know.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2015 1:03 am 
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WharkontheWildside wrote:
Example, do we use classic D'ni to write Descriptive Books or are the Great Words something else entirely? Anyone know?


You lost me at "great words". But I do know that D'ni has been described as especially suited to describing things in extreme detail.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:19 am 
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"Great words" are a kind of shorthand system. They are used to fill in the broad strokes of the canvas, so to speak. If a D'ni writer wanted to create an Age in a wide grassland, he would select Great Words that described many of the common features of the type of grassland he wanted, rather than write out every feature in minute detail. One of the words might be to specify what kind of grass and how it was distributed. Another might describe whether the terrain was flat, rolling hills, or a mountain valley. He would then go on to fill in the details not covered by the Great Words. This saved him a lot of time, and provided an automatic measure of safety, since he wasn't trying to 'reinvent the wheel'.

It's not stated anywhere whether the D'ni of daily usage was used in writing descriptive or linking books, so you can make that guess for yourself. It's only stated that they used a secret formula for the ink that required at least two ingredients that would have been native to Garternay before the exodus, scarab beetles and a type of gigantic underwater seed pod. There was also a secret process to making the paper for the books that has not been released to explorers.

There were several Ages that were devoted to producing materials for the Art, and the guilds of ink makers and book makers were two of the eighteen Major Guilds that eventually ruled D'ni after the abdication of Kerath, although they were less prestigious than the writers or maintainers.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 7:12 pm 
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larryf58 wrote:
the guilds of ink makers and book makers were two of the eighteen Major Guilds that eventually ruled D'ni after the abdication of Kerath, although they were less prestigious than the writers or maintainers.

Which also goes to show just how important these Guilds were for D'ni's way of life.

larryf58 wrote:
"Great words" are a kind of shorthand system. They are used to fill in the broad strokes of the canvas, so to speak. If a D'ni writer wanted to create an Age in a wide grassland, he would select Great Words that described many of the common features of the type of grassland he wanted, rather than write out every feature in minute detail. One of the words might be to specify what kind of grass and how it was distributed. Another might describe whether the terrain was flat, rolling hills, or a mountain valley. He would then go on to fill in the details not covered by the Great Words. This saved him a lot of time, and provided an automatic measure of safety, since he wasn't trying to 'reinvent the wheel'.

This is probably as good a guess as to how the Gahrohevtee were used as any, unless Rawa came along and explained to us (which is extremely unlikely, of course)

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 8:14 pm 
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It goes back to the analogy of programming a game component being what Cyan uses the metaphors of the Art to represent. When writing a program, the programming language contains shortcuts that the coder can use in his work to perform common tasks, rather than create his own code to do the same thing. That saves time and effort, partly because he doesn't have to make it, and partly because it makes debugging those sections easier. The gahro hehvtee are the in-character equivalent of those programming shortcuts.

I didn't come up with that concept; I read it somewhere else, although I can't remember when or where.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 12:44 am 
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larryf58 wrote:
It goes back to the analogy of programming a game component being what Cyan uses the metaphors of the Art to represent. When writing a program, the programming language contains shortcuts that the coder can use in his work to perform common tasks, rather than create his own code to do the same thing. That saves time and effort, partly because he doesn't have to make it, and partly because it makes debugging those sections easier. The gahro hehvtee are the in-character equivalent of those programming shortcuts.

I didn't come up with that concept; I read it somewhere else, although I can't remember when or where.


So the great words are macros, in the sense of that analogy.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 12:57 am 
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mathiusdragoon wrote:
So the great words are macros, in the sense of that analogy.


Yep. That's the understanding I got out of it.

Can you imagine what a pain in the backside writing an Age would be if the D'ni didn't have them? Having to write about where every bush, tree, and patch of grass was located?

If that had been the case, instead of writing the Book of Earth in about 59 years from the first stroke of the pen to being ready to move in, Ri'neref would have still been describing the fish in the lake when Garternay was abandoned.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 2:39 am 
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Wow, I never thought of it that way. Great discussion.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 6:28 pm 
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As larryf58 mentioned, the analogies between the D'ni Art and real-world age creation are many - and at all levels. I think he's correct that there may have been an intentional correlation between the idea of the D'ni "Great Words" and the real-world computer-graphics functionality of Procedural Generation.

In Cyan's open-sourced Plasma plug-in for 3D Studio Max, this functionality is in a tool called Distributors. Using this component, dozens or thousands of a type of asset (maybe rocks or shrubs or grasses or the like) can be arranged on a landscape. But rather than placing each manually, rules are set for specific qualities such as spacing, density, randomness, the amount of separation that must be maintained between the copies, the objects' size scaling, rotation, how each aligns to the terrain, the range of altitude permissible, and more such aspects.
(see the Plasma plug-in documentation, pp. 27-44)

Besides saving time for the Writer/agebuilder, another benefit is that, rather than downloading possibly millions of mesh points that could be required to display such assets, only these rules are loaded to the player's machine at run time; the application of the rules (placing the rocks, grasses, etc.) occurs in the player's machine, thereby saving load time.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 12:41 am 
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Another parallel is in what happens if you create a copy of an Age - you'll invariably get a randomly different Age, much the same as if you used a random seed with a procedurally generated environment. Sure, there's a chance that you'll get the same seed as last time, but it's so remote that it's basically 0.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 6:19 pm 
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This reminds me of a old theory of mine: Linking Books work somewhat like a 3D logic board.

No, seriously.

Canonically, the linking panel is on the first page. This suggests that to properly work, the bulk of a linking book should be closed, therefore have all the pages, and the lines of text, pressed against each other. Depending on the shape of the letters, this means that each couple of pages forms an intricate network of pathways; moreover, depending on the ink, the lines on the opposite sides of a page could be in contact through the paper. The size and shape of the letters might compensate for slight misalignment in the pages caused by opening the cover (and the binding was likely stronger and more rigid than a regular book).

The complexity of the Skill would then not only lie in formulating a descriptive text, but also in layering it in the pages. The near-impossibility of tracing an exact copy of each letter, especially by hand, would explain why an ‘exact’ copy of a linking book still links to a different Age. This would also explain why it’s so risky to mend the text, as a whole layer of the network has to be restructured. Gehn’s way of Writing almost works because he assembled already-working groups of pages, but the instabilities would emerge from the incompatibilities between these groups. This theory would also explain why linking books need some source of power.

It appears that by the time of the Fall, the Guild of Writers had fall back to a ritualistic form of Writing, that allowed writing stable Ages while having lost the knowledge about the actual functioning of the ink and the paper. This would also explain Yeesha Magic: she and Calam basically rediscovered how linking books actually worked.

This theory would also suggest that given the right materials, it could be possible to make a variable linking book, or use a different format.

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