I’m back! I’d fallen behind working on another translation project and rather than stay bogged down in it, I switched to another that I thought would be quicker to finish. I’m not sure that turned out to be the case, but I am glad to finally take a closer look at a particular holo-sign that had long been on my to-do list.
This sign can be seen in many shady, neon-soak neighborhoods around the galaxy, most notably on Nar Shaddaa and Mek Sha, but because it is usually hung in out of the way spots, I’d never really been able to get a good screenshot of it until it was released as a stronghold decoration called the “Red Light Sector Sign” hologram in the Nar Shaddaa Holo Signs Bundle last year. Hung on the wall of my guild ship, I’ve at last been able to get up close to this distinctive red and yellow holographic image.
First let’s briefly look at the graphical elements seen at the top of the sign. The use of the repeating hex pattern is a common stylistic flourish across many of SWTOR’s signs. Likewise the quartered circle inside of an octagon can also be seen on its own or incorporated into other holographic signs across the galaxy.
Two different Star Wars scripts are featured in this graphic. The prominent letters in the center are written using Futhork, a calligraphic style from the planet of Naboo. This font was created by Iain McCaig for The Phantom Menace, but shows up in many places around Star Wars: The Old Republic from Coruscant to Nar Shaddaa to Makeb.
The letters at the bottom are reflected on either side of the sign and are rendered in Atrisian, a font, which like Aurebesh, has ties to Return of the Jedi, but was fully developed in the 1990’s by Lucasarts. This font is also fairly common in SWTOR both in the neon of the game’s present day and in the ancient carving of the Rakata on Belsavis. One thing to note about SWTOR‘s use of Atrisian that I find curious is that I’ve yet to discover a single use of it in the game that can be directly translated into English. Every other “language” can at least in a few instances be translated.
The content of the sign is elusive to say the least. The Atrisian letters seem random, as do the two large Futhork letters. Even though I can’t say for sure, I do think this is another example of Bioware’s founders, in this case Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka, slipping their initials into the game. Would it surprise me that the smaller letters are the initials of other developers and artists who worked on the game? No, it wouldn’t, but I’m not knowledgeable enough to know for sure whose names they might stand for.
Inside jokes are best when they are for the insiders, so I’m fine not knowing who left their mark here, but I do think it’s neat that the good people who made this game possible got to lay some Easter Eggs in the game world for players to discover.