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  • How To Build Worlds And Tell Stories In VR

    - Michela Rimensberger

  • Now, let's begin with the first question: WHAT?

    A very basic example for a what question in the context of the world of Arafinn could be: "What are the Stonebeards?" (We will stay with the Stonebeards for the rest of the questions to keep a red thread)

    In turn, the answer should be as simple as the question: the Stonebeards are a dwarven family that are famous craftsmen and engineers.

    Using this information as a foundation, we continue asking further questions, such as:

    What language do the Stonebeards speak?

    In our case, this question is far from trivial. As we aim to create a fully immersive universe, we decided to develop languages that are speakable and writable. For this reason, we teamed up with a language scientist who is helping us to develop grammar and phonetics for the 4main languages spoken in Arafinn.

    But even if you're not planning on developing your own language to this level of detail, you can still ask yourself questions about language within your world. Questions like "What is the language called?"

    (in our case of the Stonebeards it's Hilduir, the language of the mountains) and

    "Who is actually speaking this language?"

     (Hilduir is a common dwarven tongue) help create context and bring your characters to life.

    Probably the most complex questions to answer in detail are the who questions.  In the case of families, clans etc. I like to begin from a broader perspective and work my way down to individuals.

    In our case, the first who question to ask is simply:

    "Who are the Stonebeards?"

    As we already know what the Stonebeards are (the Stonebeards are a dwarven family that are famous craftsmen and engineers), now it's time to flesh them out. To do so, a  helpful tool  is the family tree! They help you keep track of your protagonists and create order and context.

    When talking about family trees, naming conventions also come into play; ask yourself:

    "Who is named after whom?"

    Imagine a case where you have a son who is named after his father. How are these two distinguished? In our case, we chose to add the suffix "the Elder" to the father's name. So, our father, Waldurim, is now "Waldurim the Elder" and his son is just "Waldurim". You can also consider naming convention for royal inheritance. For example, the son of a reigning King (actually the prince) has the suffix "Stintrag" which means "Stone Carrier" in Hilduir.


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