World Building Through Fictional Languages

Every serious game developer knows that world building is an integral part of the process that creates a truly immersive experience. There are a variety of techniques that can be used to achieve this: from presenting the backstory of your player with a wall of text, to clever level design tricks known as environmental storytelling. The latter is often preferred. Unravelling the lore of your world from a few hints scattered across the levels is, de-facto, a game within the game. And while most players might just ignore them, others could find great pleasure in resolving this meta-puzzle.

Games like Dark Souls are notorious for their rich—and somewhat obscure—lore, which can be pieced together through the strong environmental storytelling and the various hints hidden in the item descriptions. Other games go even deeper than that, and create entire new languages for their fictional civilisations.

This is not something so uncommon, and many other media before games have long relied on fictional languages to create a much deeper sense of immersion. The entire world of The Lord of the Rings was built around a series of languages that J. R. R. Tolkien himself created before writing the books.

🇷🇺 A Russian version of this article is available here.

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Accessibility in Videogames

This article will focus on how to design accessible videogames for players living with a disability. The idea came after writing a long thread on Twitter which focused on accessibility design.

If this is a topic that interests you, and you want to learn what you can do to make your videogames more accessible, keep reading!

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An Introduction to Minecraft Modding

This series of articles will offer an overview and a practical tutorial on Minecraft Modding through the creation of data packs and resource packs. If you are interested in extending the game, this is the article for you!

At the end of this first article you will also find a link to download a mod that allows to throw fireballs, which is explored in the second article of this series.

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Gamedev Pronunciation Guide

Introduction

If you are working in the field of Computer Science, chances are you might have encountered quite a lot of technical terms and foreign names, such as Dijkstra and Nyquist. And chances are that you have learnt a good part of them solely from books. And there is nothing more embarrassing than being in an interview and mispronouncing some key term in your field of expertise! Learning the correct pronunciation is also an act of respect towards the many men and women which dedication has become the foundation of our daily work.

This page is a collection of some of the most used—and tricky to pronounce—terms and names from Computer Science, with a focus on Game Development and Computer Graphics. For each term, you can find the “most correct” pronunciation using the International Phonetic Alphabet. For many others, you will also find the respective phonetic respelling used by Wikipedia.

Before you keep reading, there are a few points to keep in mind. Many of the names in this list are in foreign languages, and they cannot be pronounced “the correct way” in English. They have, however, an Anglicised version that makes use of the closest sounds found in the English language. Fourier, for instance, is pronounced [fuʁje] in French, but is often approximated in English as /ˈfʊrieɪ,/ (FOOR-ee-ey). Yet, another commonly accepted variations is /ˈfʊriər/ (FOOR-ee-er). Many names and technical terms also variations between British English (🇬🇧) and American English (🇺🇸); effort was made to include both variants.

If you are interested to learn the pronunciation of technical terms, Computational Graphics Pronunciation Guide is another good resource. I hope you will find this collection useful, and feel free to get in touch to suggest a change or a new term to add.

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The Mathematics of Epidemics

This online course introduces the topic of modelling and simulating epidemics. If you are interested in understanding how Mathematicians, Programmers and Data Scientists are studying and fighting the spread of diseases, this series of posts is what you are looking for.

This online course is inspired by the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever we need skilled and passionate people to focus on the complex subject of Epidemiology. I hope these articles will help some of you to get started.

All the revenue made from this article through Patreon will be donated to the National Emergencies Trust (NET) to help those most affected by the recent coronavirus outbreak. If you have recently become a patron for this reason, get in touch and I will add your contribution.

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The DIY Guide to: Work From Home

A significant portion of the working force population in the Western world is employed in an office job. For many of those people, the constraint of working 9-to-5 feels like an act of unnecessary cruelty, especially in spite of the fact that most office jobs could easily go fully remote.

It is not uncommon to see working from home as an escape from the slavery of being stuck in an office job. The reality, unfortunately, is a bit different.

Working from home, either for a company or as a self-employed person, requires a level of self-control that many people are simply not used to. And, if carried out long term, it can have a negative impact on one’s psychological and physical well being.

Working from home is not easier: is actually harder.

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The Ethics of DeepFakes

This online course provides a theoretical and practical guide to the use of face-swap technology. In the past few months, deep neural networks have been wildly used to digital insert actor Nicolas Cage into several movie scenes. These so-called deepfakes have generated a lot of discussion on the ethics of Machine Learning. This second lesson will focus on the potential applications that face-swap technology can offer, and on how to use it properly.

If you are interested in understanding not only how deekfakes are generated, but also to create your own, this is the tutorial you have been looking for. And if you have been using face-swap technology already, I hope this first post will help you become more aware of why and how this technology should (and shouldn’t) be used.

You can read all the posts in this series here:

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