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News & Features Discussion  » Aion: Five Things I Learned from Aion’s Lore

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29 posts found
  Stradden

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

 
OP  8/24/09 8:53:20 AM#1

NCsoft Content Writer David Noonan has put together this developer journal about what he learned through the process of localizing Aion's two million words for the Western market.

When I started working on Aion, we were staring at about two-million words…and a looming deadline. The two-million words were coherently translated into English, but they still needed significant help if they were to resonate with a Western audience. From the very first story meeting—heck, from the car ride to the very first meeting—we realized that we were doing something that hadn’t been done before. We were taking a full-fledged MMO, stripping it down to its narrative essence, then rebuilding it so that Aion’s story showed as much polish as its art and gameplay.

As I write this, those two-million words are done—“done” being a euphemism for “mostly done but still subject to tweaks, bug fixes, and all the last-minute changes you expect right up to launch.” Here are some things that what we jokingly called the “Aion Westernization Army” learned along the way.

Read Five Things I Learned from Aion’s Lore

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

  Kavaskous

Novice Member

Joined: 11/02/08
Posts: 72

Obscurum quod lux lucis es idem eadem idem.

8/24/09 10:02:56 AM#2

It's good to see how they're trying to take adding quests and content very serious, and are trying to see the story and gameplay from a player's perspective. It's kinda good to see that, at least this guy, gets the best feeling from his job knowing there's someone enjoying the story and it's presentation, and that his work is not going unappreciated. I myself don't care too much for what a lowly NPC feels or needs to me to, I simply so it as a duty. I'm always more concerned however, with the main story line. I can't say that's it's perfect, but I enjoy it. I myself love the work they've done for this story. The one thing I always thought was funny is the possibility that they were having issues deciding how to separate the two races literally by a world apart, and happen to be looking at half an apple. 

I suppose I'm just ranting now, but yea. So long as the writers and developers put their soul into the work (Like the artisans of old used to to make an honest day's pay) and try their hardest, I'm sure they'll do fine.

 

I wonder though...if I write an entire piece of Lore or a quest, I wonder of they'd consider making it /hmm

Leader/Founder of Deritus Free Company - Chocobo Knights of Apocalypse Linkshell

  Mysk

Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/18/03
Posts: 982

8/24/09 10:03:13 AM#3

"Guest Writer".  Now that's a shame.  Taken with the fact that I haven't seen any names mentioned by NCSoft I take it that they can't reveal who they are at this time.  A real shame.  I'd like to see some of their other work.

I've read fantasy novels of several hundred pages since at least the 3rd grade, I've had a writing hobby for many years, and I've had a creative writing minor at my university.  That said, the quality of the writing in Aion genuinely surprised me.  I'm not saying that the stories were Earth-shattering, but the quality of the writing has been top-notch.

It's a bit embarrassing to say that I did begin skipping some dialogue ("kill 10 whoozits" is "kill 10 whoozits"), but I don't think it fair to penalize the writers for a design constraint.  I don't expect The Legend of Huma or The Time of The Twins or Druids (Morgan Llywelyn) .   I'd like to see what these writers do outside of the current MMO design limitations.

Also, I laughed out loud at the "Cthulhu" XML file.


I probably don't follow the threads that I post in. If you want me to see a response then feel free to PM me.

  Stradden

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

 
OP  8/24/09 10:16:38 AM#4
Originally posted by Mysk

"Guest Writer".  Now that's a shame.  Taken with the fact that I haven't seen any names mentioned by NCSoft I take it that they can't reveal who they are at this time.  A real shame.  I'd like to see some of their other work.

"NCsoft Content Writer David Noonan"

 

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

  Mysk

Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/18/03
Posts: 982

8/24/09 10:23:02 AM#5
Originally posted by Stradden
Originally posted by Mysk

"Guest Writer".  Now that's a shame.  Taken with the fact that I haven't seen any names mentioned by NCSoft I take it that they can't reveal who they are at this time.  A real shame.  I'd like to see some of their other work.

"NCsoft Content Writer David Noonan"

 

 

Hah!    Thanks for pointing that out to me.  I skip over grayed out text without realizing that it's there.  I think that it's a part of ad blindness.


I probably don't follow the threads that I post in. If you want me to see a response then feel free to PM me.

  Haradeas

Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/11/07
Posts: 204

8/24/09 10:27:25 AM#6

Was a pleasure to read and cant wait ( as CE pre order customer ) to experience the immense world and lore myself in sep ^^

  Mithrandolir

Hard Core Member

Joined: 2/28/05
Posts: 1712

Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft' might win, by fearing to attempt

8/24/09 10:33:17 AM#7

That was a vary nice read! Thank you for posting it!

  TheStarheart

Novice Member

Joined: 8/08/09
Posts: 372

8/24/09 11:07:07 AM#8

I was impressed with this article. It stands out amongst the rest of the interviews, articles, and commentaries given out by the NCsoft employees. These are the people that really make a game worth playing!

  Kyligraphy

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/27/09
Posts: 12

8/24/09 11:30:02 AM#9

it's nice and all to have to read the stories of a couple thousand npc's quarrels and millions of opinions about it.

but to be honest, I still can't care... I'm too impatient...

 

when I think about it, you can't really make me care about some dude who lost a ring he was going to use to marry his girlfriend or long lost wife when I'm about to get some wings that make me fly.

kyligraphy Xfire Miniprofile
  aurick

Novice Member

Joined: 11/01/06
Posts: 320

8/24/09 11:59:39 AM#10

 Very nice read, and I enjoyed seeing the results of your efforts during beta.

That being said, you made one big mistake during the pre-ascension quests:  There are many times when the NPC's call you a Daeva.  They're not supposed to know that yet.  Heck, even YOU aren't supposed to know it.  (Or at least, your character's not.)  Any places that make that kind of reference damage the great work you've put into immersion.  Hopefully you can find and edit those out soon!  (Of course, this also negates the "I can die, but you can't" excuse that any NPC's might give for asking you to do something during those first 10 levels.)

Just a minor observation.  :)  Great work, overall!


  Punisher

Novice Member

Joined: 11/02/03
Posts: 25

8/24/09 1:06:32 PM#11
Originally posted by Stradden
Originally posted by Mysk

"Guest Writer".  Now that's a shame.  Taken with the fact that I haven't seen any names mentioned by NCSoft I take it that they can't reveal who they are at this time.  A real shame.  I'd like to see some of their other work.

"NCsoft Content Writer David Noonan"

 


 

Hmmm thats an extremely familiar name? Why am I thinking D&D stuff? At work no google anyone got anything he has worked on?

  svzurich

Novice Member

Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 21

8/24/09 2:53:44 PM#12
  CymTyr

Novice Member

Joined: 11/08/08
Posts: 166

8/24/09 3:18:55 PM#13

Good read, thanks for sharing with us David!

  Lorel

Novice Member

Joined: 9/21/04
Posts: 45

8/24/09 3:22:27 PM#14

I enjoyed that article. :D

  Leodious

Novice Member

Joined: 2/28/06
Posts: 782

The best way to travel is by means of imagination.

8/24/09 5:07:07 PM#15

This was very, very good. And these are all great points for all game developers. Jon, could you send this as a memo to all the companies whose ear you might have?

Aion isn't really my cup of tea, I realized after playing, but some of the core design principles are amazing. The quest text for example. Often, you have multiple options when talking to an NPC for a quest; it is a conversation, so you need to pay attention to what you are doing. You can't hit Accept and follow the arrow on your minimap.

And more than ever that (though, as someone with a passion for stories and language itself, that is a big deal for me), I like the fact that NPCs are aware of your dying. They treat you like a hero, like an angel, because that is what you are. You are not just some guy (well, after the very beginning), you are a Daeva, and you are kind of a big deal. That fact alone adds so much to the experience for me.

As a roleplayer, that's a big deal for me. I like to have all the game mechanics make sense with regards to the fictional world in which I exist. For example, in WoW (or, The Leviathan), you are a hero, and people respect you, but you are not more powerful than the guards in town (in fact, you are often less so), but you are asked to go kill things. When that NPC soldier dies, he's dead. Yes, as a priest, I can resurrect him, but that is only VERY rarely indicated in the game. If my friend PC dies, I just stand still for ten seconds and he's back on his feet smiling. If that NPC we are walking around with dies, he a goner. And there is no explanation for why this difference exists.

Aion really does have some innovative ideas I would love to see in other games. Thanks again for posting this.

"There are two great powers, and they've been fighting since time began. Every advance in human life, every scrap of knowledge and wisdom and decency we have has been torn by one side from the teeth of the other. Every little increase in human freedom has been fought over ferociously between those who want us to know more and be wiser and stronger, and those who want us to obey and be humble and submit."

— John Parry, to his son Will; "The Subtle Knife," by Phillip Pullman

  shava

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/09/05
Posts: 279

8/24/09 11:51:54 PM#16

I've been playing CB on Aion -- started as a lark and a vacation from LOTRO, but I think I'm jumping.  Cooling my heels in Champions Online OB until Aion OB, and I've pre-ordered the CE.

I'm sort of a 2yr grrl with my MMO and I think this is the next phase of my addiction! :)  I'm a professional writer/storyteller (both in the arts and in business) with a background in cultural anthropology, and I've been impressed with the localization of the words and concepts from Korea to US English.

If I had one gripe it would be both the Daeva-before-ascension voice-overs and also the grumpy NPCs who say thank you in text and then the voice-over says, "You're wasting my time!" or some such.

For those who like rough edges and boot camp, play Asmodean.  For those who prefer civil conversation, stay on the Elyos side -- it's definitely a kinder and gentler flavor of kick-ass-take-no-prisoners.

 

Yrs,

Shava

  kurok1456

Novice Member

Joined: 8/09/09
Posts: 2

GET HIM

8/25/09 12:09:19 AM#17

Very enjoyed reading this. and im wondering what you meant by the massive XML file named Cthulhu. that sounds exciting :D

haha Xfire Miniprofile
  stayontarget

Guide

Joined: 10/04/08
Posts: 6130

Girlfriends come and go but Epic battles are Soulbound

8/25/09 1:14:52 AM#18

Quote from wiki

David Noonan: is an author of several products and articles for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game from Wizards of the Coast.

I thought I heard or read that last name from somewhere, I think I have read a few of his books / articles.

Velika: City of Wheels: Among the mortal races, the humans were the only one that never built cities or great empires; a curse laid upon them by their creator, Gidd, forced them to wander as nomads for twenty centuries...

  svzurich

Novice Member

Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 21

8/25/09 1:24:47 AM#19

I was very pleasantly surprised to see that I owned several of his books as well.  :)

  shava

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/09/05
Posts: 279

8/25/09 1:32:24 AM#20

For more on David Noonan's PnP portfolio at WOTC:

http://www.pen-paper.net/rpgdb.php?op=showcreator&creatorid=3

Work on D&D 2000-2006, and Magic: the Gathering 2001 (color text), and a slew of articles and such.

Some cool stuff on evolution of classes on his blog.

He's been at NCSoft for five apparently very busy months, during which he hasn't blogged. (geez, I know that one)

Sorry, David!  Don't mean to Google stalk you, just curious on your background, and what else you were doing, because I enjoyed the article -- and the name sounded familiar to me, too (probably from pen and paper contexts).

Yrs,

Shava

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