Shartak internals – speech and translation

Within Shartak there are two main factions – natives and outsiders. To make things somewhat realistic (and interesting), when they first start off there is quite a hefty language barrier in that a native can’t really understand an outsider and vice-versa. This situation can be improved by gaining the various language skills that help with reading/hearing the other language, and then for writing or speaking the other language.

There are three levels of comprehension – basic, advanced and expert language – followed by foreign writing and foreign speech. As far as the translation of language goes, we’re only interested in the first three skills. The foreign writing/speech skills simply allow things to work in reverse.

One of the players posted the results of a fairly detailed examination of the translation system on the Shartak forum and he was quite accurate with a some of the information. It’s not possible to accurately translate the garbled text back into the original text – this is intentional because otherwise it would only be a matter of time before someone wrote a Greasemonkey script to translate it and thus render 5 skills completely useless.

Both native and outsider speech work in the same way, all that changes are the character sequences associated with each letter. The sequences were deliberately chosen (with assistance from someone who knows about such things) such that the outsiders have a less harsh sound than the natives.

Natives have sounds like kam, rak, hok and uck where outsiders have kar, rar, hum and uh.

Trivia: the name of the cannibals home camp Rakmogak is actually a slight variation of the native translation of “Raw meat”!

Shartak internals – Maps and movement

The map for Shartak is held in a database table with over 140,000 rows in it. Each row corresponds to a single location on the map, also called a tile. The initial island map was generated automatically based on a simple bitmap image with varying colours for the different terrain types. Since 2005 there have been many changes to it, most of which are done by manually editing the table one row at a time. Bear in mind that this system is probably not the best way to do it, but it works for Shartak and allows for some interesting map layouts if I ever need them.

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IPv6 and Shartak

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been trying to figure out IPv6. Having worked through some of the IPv6 certification at http://ipv6.he.net/ I now have an IPv6 enabled web server and mail server as well as IPv6 connectivity at home via tunnelbroker.net

I thought I’d update Shartak to allow access via IPv6 as well as IPv4 – mostly nothing needed to be changed, however…

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Shartak – now with added music

Before you start complaining, I didn’t go crazy and add a dodgy midi track to the Shartak website. I stumbled across a forum thread this evening and apparently Shartak players are forming their own record label.
Once finished, the Heads Down tracks will be available at a MySpace account – http://www.myspace.com/headsdownriot
*EDIT* URI of MySpace account changed – 3rd March 2007.

Continue reading Shartak – now with added music