htr sr

Wed 02 March 2016
By Bram


So these hieroglyphs (in this case, read from right to left) spells htr sr. We only know the consonants of the Ancient Egyptians, and the scholars do not know what vowels were in their words. This 'htr sr' translates to Tax Official in English.

The twisted wick is the 'h' sound, the bread loaf is the 't' sound, the mouth is the 'r' sound and the folded cloth is the 's' sound. The man with staff at the end is a determinative, clarifying that it pertains to a person.

Why do I know this? Because my game Imhotep, Pyramid Builder uses a hieroglyphic UI, and I needed to add taxes to my game.

There are some great resources available online to translate into hieroglyphics. There is the book by Charles E. Nichols. And there is this online dictionary. Wikipedia's Gardiner's sign list is of big help too. There are plenty of ancient samples available too. And a quick introduction to transliteration as well.

To create the artwork for my UI, I study a few samples from the antiquities for each symbol. Then I create my own version of it in Inkscape, the SVG editor. I export them to PNG, and convert them to raw images for use in my game.

I am seriously considering not showing the English translation of the UI, by default. So that figuring out the UI becomes part of the challenge. I would add a cheater-mode for lazy people, which enables tooltips with mouse-over so that they know the English meaning immediately.

So yeah, however the game turns out, it is bound to be unique. I don't think there are any other games with a hieroglyphic UI. The game would also stand out on the massive crowd simulator that I implemented for it. Thousands of little workers, each going about their own business. This is courtesy of the Continuum Crowds algorithm, that enables path planing for massive crowds. I partition my crowds in many flow-fields, depending on their current needs (fetch water, deliver food, pick up sandstone, etc.) And the little workers will plan their journeys, based on congestion, preferring to walk with the dominant flow of traffic, not against it, and such. It is quite pleasing to the eye when large crowds are moving. This game is coming to steam in 2016.