Once upon a time, a traveler could wander from Iceland to Austria and make themselves understood in every region along the way. A person undertaking that same journey today would have a very different experience. At every border post they would have to learn new words, new sounds, new ways of talking. Surely, they would conclude, all these people speak different languages.
So what is this mysterious force that seems so bent on changing the way we communicate? How is it that we talk this way one time, and that way another? When we flip open a dictionary, it’s all too easy to think that our language is something stable, penned down by great men of letters to weather the ages. And yet, all over the world, all the time, that intuition is proven wrong. In spite of our best efforts to convince ourselves otherwise, language is alive.
Let’s do a little thought-experiment and take that last statement very literally for a moment. What if there is, in fact, someone pulling the strings? What if this invisible hand constantly pushing the evolution of our language wasn’t quite so invisible? What if there was some entity to whom all the abstractions of language are tangible, who effortlessly sees processes that are invisible on the scale of our short human lives?
That’s how Speak came to be: a game about language and how it changes over time. In Speak, you assume the role of a creature that works behind the scenes to alter the sounds, words and meanings of human language. Of course, being a god of language is an enormous task, which is why you are assisted by the Glots, the loyal language spirits who depend on you for their survival. Will your languages sprawl across the world in a vast array of diverging dialects or will you meticulously design a beautiful culture language? Will you dive into the past or future of our own speech, evolve the works of the Tolkiens of our world, or put your efforts into something altogether new?
In its current state, a lot of the game’s underlying framework is functional, so a basic “sandbox” gameplay is possible, but a ton of challenges and potential obstacles still lie ahead. Speak is a one-man, after-hours project, which makes the substantial effort of designing and developing a game all the greater. That’s what this blog is for. In the future, you can expect, among others:
- News, updates and images
- Descriptions of various aspect of the game as they take form
- Insights into the development process, both technical and design-wise
In the near future, expect some initial information on the dramatis personae of the game. For now, thanks for reading and stay tuned for future updates!