Monthly Archives: January 2017

I’d Buy That For a Credit

I received a suggestion via twitter to take a look at the GTN screens, and as my consular often reminds me, “The Jedi way is to serve.”

The Aurebesh used on the four large monitors adorning the Galactic Trade Network kiosks seen on the Fleets, Nar Shaddaa, Odessan and possibly your stronghold is primarily used as a design element. While the screens can be translated into actual, though often fragmentary words, they don’t make sense in context.

Read a lot of Aurebesh displays in the game and you’ll eventually see a stock group of phrases repeated over and over. “Will proceed as scheduled.” “At full power” “All systems active.” There are many others. Fragments from these can be read in the two GTN screens featuring the weapon and armor graphics. This collection of phrases is SWTOR’s version of lorem ipsum. The nonsensical writing is meant to evoke the kind of text on monitors you’d see around the galaxy rather than have specific meaning.

The GTN’s other two large screens display a random selection of letters and numbers much like a stock market ticker. Similar information appears in the holographic “crown” rotating above the kiosk. Whether the letters and numbers have any significance I can’t say. Perhaps the artists snuck in their initials and birthdays, or just pulled them out of a hat. All I can say is that I know what I would’ve done.

This last screen is on the interface players click on to access the GTN, and it does contain text that makes sense in context. The monitor flashes through a variety of items while displaying sale, refund credit, and purchase labels and prices. When it comes to their customers the Hutt Cartel, which runs the Galactic Trade Network, wants to make it clear that they appreciate their patronage.

The War For Iokath

Thursday’s long awaited live stream finally gave us some details regarding the next major content patch for SWTOR. My first comment is that the broad strokes of what they announced absolutely should’ve been shared in October, if not sooner. Fans and subscribers should’ve not have had to wait until two months after the launch of the expansion to know that more story, a daily area and operation content are indeed coming. Certainly details surrounding the setting and story could’ve been held back, but, as both a fan of SWTOR and a guild officer trying to keep my friends engaged, I was very frustrated that KotET launched without even a hint of what the end game is to be. And, no, Galactic Command is not end game. Not even close.

Time gated raid content is not my favorite thing, but I agree that launching one boss at a time is preferable to delaying the whole thing until the autumn, so I will take what I can get.

I am looking forward to exploring Iokath and having a go at the Master chapters and uprisings. And, yeah, I’ll be charging into that Operations instance day one. If all I cared about was raiding, then I’d probably sit out the next few months, but if there is other new stuff to do, I’m on board. What I liked about KotFE is that that the chapters came at a steady and reliable clip, and in the meantime, it is up to Bioware to do the same and keep KotET interesting.

 

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Filed under Aurebesh to English, KotET

The Last Jedi

As a long time fan of Marvel’s Star Wars comics of the 70’s and 80’s, I’m always amused to see how prescient those old four color classics were in ways large and small. We are not likely to see Jedidiah on the big screen next December, but it’s neat to be reminded of one of Expanded Universe’s better Star Wars stories.

Central Circle

It is a real thrill to be included amongst the fine group content creators featured by SWTOR Central’s first installment of Central Circle. Sam is easily the most enthusiastic evangelist of SWTOR out there, and his videos are always an entertaining and even handed look at the game. The other creators’ content featured in this video are also worth your time from yet another great guide by Swtorista, FibroJedi’s tips for saving credits, OdBucko’s progression videos, and Aravail’s fantastic commentary on Galactic Command which I really, really hope the good folks at Bioware watch.

I’ll be translating more Aurebesh later the week as I keep my fingers crossed for good news from Thursday’s Bioware livestream.

 

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Filed under General Star Wars

Between Jedi and Sith lies obsession

Despite the war between the Jedi and the Sith, women are still expected too look their best, and even in a galaxy far, far away sex sells.

This sultry advertisement can be seen on several planets across the galaxy but is featured most prominently on the Republic’s fleet hub, Carrick Station. The ad draws inspiration from Calvin Klein’s famous Obsession campaign right down to the to suggestive tag line across the model’s mouth.

As is often the case, the Aurebesh on this poster is mirrored and must be flipped to be properly read. The design element of the mirrored M or “mern” glyphs works regardless of the flipped design, which may explain why this mistake slipped through the cracks.

I don’t know the meaning of the double M’s but I’m happy to provide baseless speculation after a few minutes poking around on wookieepedia. Moltokian Maquillage is the provider of the galaxy’s finest, all natural makeup and cosmetics. If you’ve embraced the Light, you’ll find the most elegant lip-glosses and blushes. Even if you’ve turned to the Dark Side, MM has you covered with discreet foundation to hide even your most debased corruption blemishes. Moltokian Maquillage can be found on sale at the poshest establishments in Coruscant’s Core Plaza, Nar Shaddaa’s Promenade shopping district, and Dromund Kaas’ shadow markets.

Update: The M logo which I’d guessed applied to a cosmetics company may in fact be the branding used by the Coruscant Market, and is seen on many posters advertising the fabulous shopping options available around the Republic’s capital.

 

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Filed under Aurebesh to English

Zakuulan Language Primer

Knights of the Fallen Empire introduced a new planet to the Star Wars galaxy: Zakuul, capital of the Eternal Empire. Zakuul included a host of new characters, architecture, droids, spaceships, customs and perhaps most subtly a new form of writing.

The artists at Bioware designed the Zakuulan script with several variations suggesting an idiosyncratic and evolving language while maintaining a cohesive style whether the context is a fancy sign on a building or a technical readout on a computer monitor.

After pouring through my screenshots, I’ve put together a basic Zakuulan primer of letters and numbers.

I should admit up front that this project is a work in progress. I’ve found no examples of the letters J, Q and X, so folks looking to score big in Scrabble may be disappointed. As with Aurebesh, it’s not unusual for Zakuulan signage to be inverted or reversed; this is most common in the holographic displays in the Twin Rails tram station. The flipped signs made deciphering the numbers tricky, especially since I have not yet come across the number 7, but I think I can extrapolate it based on other numbers in the sequence. Likewise, I’m also not sure what the glyph for zero is, but don’t feel confident enough to guess.

There are two major styles of Zakuulan writing: a digital font seen on monitors in which the letters are rendered with straight lines and hard angles, and a second version that features rounded corners and elegant curves. This script is, to my eye, evocative of the Art Deco style of the early 20th century. There are more gaps in this second style and while I feel comfortable making educated guesses about a few of the missing letters, several others remain unknown to me.

Typically, letters are similar across both styles, but there are variants of a few letters: A, B, C, Y and Z can all be rendered using two different glyph shapes, and I’ve seen examples of both in the “digital” and “deco” styles. In addition, the deco style seems to employ a distinct numbering system from its digital counterpart. With only one example to work from, I’m not confident in even making basic guesses about how to render numbers in that style.

In addition to signs and computers, Zakuulan script is also readable in the costumes of Vaylin and the Scions. The lining on their cloaks and hoods repeat five words thematically significant to both the game’s story and Zakuulan culture. However, so far the writing on Arcann and Thexan’s robes defies translation.

The game has gotten a lot of mileage out of a few graphics; the “administraton” and “RNG Main Office” signs are everywhere for example, but I hope in the future we’ll see more examples of the Zakuulan script. The addition of new and alien writing has been a nice touch to set the Eternal Empire apart from the rest of the galaxy and to make it feel like a real, lived in world that’s not quite familiar to both the characters and the players. It’s perhaps an easy thing to miss while adventuring, but I applaud the artists at Bioware for this cool addition to Star Wars lore.

I want to also give a tip of the hat to this thread on SWTOR’s official forums, which confirmed some of things I’d suspected about Zakuulan writing and pointed me in the direction of a few things I missed.

 

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Filed under KotFE