Puckohue
 member, 20 posts
Mon 7 Jan 2019
at 09:16
Idea: language skill deciding level of scrambling
In many rule sets a character has a level of understanding in a language, i.e. 45%. It would be fun if it was possible to optionally set the level of scrambling using the language groups to the level of the character's understanding.

I have no idea how to actually implement such a feature. Scrambling 25% of the letters would not work. Scrambling 25% of the words might work, in a way.

Preferably words would be checked against a database about English language complexity, or something like Basic English (https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_English), to filter out complex words and sentences.
JohnB
 member, 2082 posts
 Demigod of the Stunties
Sat 9 Feb 2019
at 07:44
Idea: language skill deciding level of scrambling
That is a nice idea  :) And one that I would have had fun coding back in the days when I did that sort of thing.

However, it is also going to be resource hungry.

 IF you only wanted one tier of partial translation, you could probably get away with a 'vocabulary' of a couple of hundred words.  A second tier of partial translation would require a second dictionary - not sure what sort of size, but (I guess) with a larger vocabulary.

You could bring the vocabulary list  in-house, to save band width usage.  However, you will also have to parse every word of every language group PM against those lists to decided whether to  scramble them or leave them clear.  That is a lot of processor time.  And that is probably the biggest killer for the idea.

There are, or at least used to be, games in languages other than English on the site - so  more vocab lists for different languages.  And how do you tell the core language of the game?  Possibly a new setting in The Game Details section?

And then, how does the system know the language level of the character?  Every game has a different character sheet and each one stores Character Skill levels in a different location and format. So you would need another GM maintained setting somewhere, either recorded against the character or the language.  And you would need one for each language ...

It is a fairly complicated bit of code, it will be resource heavy and it would need changes to the way that character data is stored.  As I said, I would have found it interesting to code (all those years ago) but it would have been a long and ongoing project.
evileeyore
 member, 147 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Sat 9 Feb 2019
at 08:51
Re: Idea: language skill deciding level of scrambling
JohnB:
It is a fairly complicated bit of code...

Even worse, you aren't addressing the fact that there are three major ways in which games treat languages and then even when in the same rough category, most games are very different in exactly how they works.

1 - Binary:  You either know the language or not, no rolls, no muss-no fuss.  Easy, this one is already handled by the RPoL system.  This is how games like D&D work.

2 - "Skill" roll, you either successfully understand what is said or not.  This is what Puckohue is referring to with his "45%", but very few systems run on a percentile.  This is still basically binary in the system's rules... and changing it changes the way those systems work (but it's an interesting idea).  I suspect this is how Rolemaster works?

3 - Affects Other Skills - Lack of understanding hampers communication and thus penalizes other skills (usually social skills).  There is no 'binary' (understand/don't understand) or skill rolls or checks, being at a 'low' level in a language just makes your other skill uses more difficult and more fraught with failure.  It could pretty easily interface with some "partial translation" system... but it's probably more work than necessary.  This is how GURPS works.
JohnB
 member, 2083 posts
 Demigod of the Stunties
Sat 9 Feb 2019
at 09:46
Re: Idea: language skill deciding level of scrambling

1 - Binary:    Yep  :)

2 - "Skill" roll:   Actually a very minor tweak to the wording of the last but one paragraph of my previous post.  Controls for how the DM manages individual character language skills is implied in that section.

3 - Affects Other Skills:  Something completely different :)  Bits like that are generally a GM call anyway  :)
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1437 posts
Sun 10 Feb 2019
at 23:43
Re: Idea: language skill deciding level of scrambling
And a 4th way, each level of skill improves the aspects of a language to be understood. I.E. low lvl can make general grammer rules (sentence particles/markers for identifying a question or a command) and common words like "hello" and "stop." Mid lvl would be conversational but words related to specific jobs or are uncommon in usuage would still pop up commonly (i.e. What does Flux mean?).
ionathas
 member, 20 posts
Sat 2 Mar 2019
at 14:42
Re: Idea: language skill deciding level of scrambling
I love this idea from a conceptual standpoint, but it would require number or text fields for every character for every language involved instead of a bit-switch, which (I hope, depending on the way the current database is structured) would eat up a lot of additional resources very quickly.
However, it wouldn't have to be as complicated as all that. Forget a dictionary lookup--you can get dictionaries nowadays, but that's too much.
Word length. At 25% skill in a language, 90% of words over, say, 3 letters are scrambled. At 50% skill in a language, 75% of words over 4 letters are scrambled. At 75%, 25% of words over 6 letters are scrambled. At 90%, only 10% of words over 8 letters are scrambled. As long as we don't have a German localization, that should work reasonably well with basic math-based string functions.

And incidentally, most versions of Rolemaster use a Language Chart. (Did you ever doubt it?) Language skills generally range from 1 to 10 in Spoken and Written categories, with a category level based on the chart.
OceanLake
 member, 1061 posts
Thu 7 Mar 2019
at 20:40
Re: Idea: language skill deciding level of scrambling
T*(s @s ) !e*s**g( i+ ( l*n##a$e Y%% **r(ly (nd*r**an*.

A GM could do this when entering the text.