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kaio

Myth book from the live stream

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Hi Levi (or anyone from the Black Lake team that can help me out on this one!)

what's the title of the myth book you showed the team in the live stream? The one that is based primarily on Joseph Campbell. I tried to find it and have a look at it (maybe buy it!) but I couldn't find it online :(

Thank you!

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... which leads me, if I may, to send a slight cold breeze of warning to all the people, who want a comprehensive, all explaining "book of wisdom", which would include "a thing" and "it's meaning".

I dabbled in mostly Western History and Philosophy for over four decades now (incl. Linguistics, Semiology), and the one thing I learned is, "things have more than one meaning". It is great to have a "dictionary" which explains to you the "meaning of symbols" one way or another. But the same symbol means something in one culture and something completely different in another. Heck, even within a tribe a distinct meaning changes over time, or it was never established canonically in the first place?

Christian iconography has a certain - reliable - syntax. That's where Art History comes into play. If you had a chance to study for example Italian Renaissance Art, or Dutch, etc, etc ... you do get a sort of "shorthand" meaning of symbols. The Iconography had to be canonical, making illiterate common people understand the meaning of what they would see.

These days, most of us know how to read and write, but - sweet irony - most of us never learned to 'read' the symbols and icons, like our ancestors did? Why is the lily a symbol of purity? Why is the ivy identified with death but also with immortality? Etc, etc ...

The devil is in the detail? The more you get involved in this kind of research, the less things look alike. In short: be careful, when following in to that rabbit hole, Alice.

Video games and 'art' in video games have lots in common with 'classic art'. In the 8-bit era a lot of stereotypes were used as a shorthand for what the pixels had to represent (hence some hilarious characters). Video games have to transport a certain 'feel', 'look', 'vibe'. How do they do that? How are they able to evoke a common 'mood' that is felt by players from Argentina to Norway? From San Francisco, to (hopefully some backer) in rural China? It is a fascinating topic.

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Video games and 'art' in video games have lots in common with 'classic art'. In the 8-bit era a lot of stereotypes were used as a shorthand for what the pixels had to represent (hence some hilarious characters). Video games have to transport a certain 'feel', 'look', 'vibe'. How do they do that? How are they able to evoke a common 'mood' that is felt by players from Argentina to Norway? From San Francisco, to (hopefully some backer) in rural China? It is a fascinating topic.

Great points!

It's also interesting how technology has shaped the global pop culture over the past century - while different symbols have different meanings around the world, most of our players are clued in to the general-default-hollywood-endorsed pop culture of tv, film, comics, and games. We share a language of symbols based on those things. It makes meaning-creation easier in some ways, but if we get lazy or careless can limit our audience or cross cultural correctness boundaries - ie Resident Evil 5's zombies or the games that have had to strip out background words from the Quran.

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... which leads me, if I may, to send a slight cold breeze of warning to all the people, who want a comprehensive, all explaining "book of wisdom", which would include "a thing" and "it's meaning".

...

The devil is in the detail? The more you get involved in this kind of research, the less things look alike. In short: be careful, when following in to that rabbit hole, Alice.

It's a very interesting topic, indeed. And I'm afraid that I already jumped into the rabbit hole, head first. My name isn't Alice, though, so maybe that helps a bit. :D

Anyway, I just got the book for under 3 bucks! It seems to be worth looking into, although I'm sure that it can't be a comprehensive book on the topic, as you said (and I doubt that any single book could be). I already know the "The Power of Myth" documentation with/from Joseph Campbell. It's right good! So that would be my suggestion as a starting point for other people, I guess.

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Also a linguistics student! I don't disagree with anything AlexCovic said, but I would add that just because a particular symbol can have several different meanings due to the fact that several different groups have arrived at different cultural agreements about the use of that particular symbol (or object or drawing or string of phonemes or etc etc) does not mean that the symbol in question is therefore meaningless or that any one particular meaning is "wrong" or "ignorant" or "unstudied".

To put it another way, people have arrived at many different ways to use a long, wooden stick. If I were to make a game in which a long wooden stick was used as a blunt weapon (or, say, a lever), I'm not "wrong" or "uninformed" for applying one use and not the other. I just looked at all the possible uses of a wooden stick, and it just turned out that one of them was useful for the game I was making.

In this case, too, no matter what symbols/images/icons/emblems the team decides to use for the game, I don't think there is anything wrong with just taking the most widely understood or most useful meaning and applying it in the context of the game as it suits them.

Because, after all, as any linguistics student knows: context is everything!

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We used the book to look up the symbolic meanings behind some of the key elements in our game, to see how close our story runs with their meanings. Here's the list I compiled for our internal reference forum.

Fox - Symbolizes guile, trickery, and malicious intent.

Crow - Symbol of death, evil, and bad luck. But in some cultures it is a guide, or prophetic.

Thorns - Affliction or protection

Forest - symbol of the unconsciousness and its threats. Place of trials, danger, and initiation.

Black - In some cultures, the color of negative forces and unhappy events. Death, despair, ignorance, sorrow, evil. In other cultures, symbol of germination.

Lake - Feminine enchantment and power. Smooth surfaced lakes imply a two-way mirror, with spirits watching from beneath.

Lantern - Spirit, truth, intelligence. Symbol of life, leading from one existence to the next. Protection from demons.

Feathers - symbol of ascension, communication with the spirit world (if worn). Feathered cloaks means the ability to travel between the two realms.

Plants (vegetation) - symbol of cyclical nature of birth and death

Smoke (dream mist?) - symbol of ascension of prayers and purified souls.

Mist - Transition, supernatural intervention

Purple - royalty

Deer - Benevolence, purity, dawn, homonym for abundance, swiftness. Female deer symbolizes female rite of passage.

Music - linked to the origin of life. Natural, rhythmic sounds are an attempt to communicate to nature and animals, while sophisticated/complicated music is connected with the planets and cosmic order.

Child - purity, potential, innocence, natural state, free of anxiety. Symbol of mystic knowledge, openness of faith. Only children and those like unto children could enter the kingdom of heaven.

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We used the book to look up the symbolic meanings behind some of the key elements in our game, to see how close our story runs with their meanings. Here's the list I compiled for our internal reference forum.

Fox - Symbolizes guile, trickery, and malicious intent.

Crow - Symbol of death, evil, and bad luck. But in some cultures it is a guide, or prophetic.

Thorns - Affliction or protection

Forest - symbol of the unconsciousness and its threats. Place of trials, danger, and initiation.

Black - In some cultures, the color of negative forces and unhappy events. Death, despair, ignorance, sorrow, evil. In other cultures, symbol of germination.

Lake - Feminine enchantment and power. Smooth surfaced lakes imply a two-way mirror, with spirits watching from beneath.

Lantern - Spirit, truth, intelligence. Symbol of life, leading from one existence to the next. Protection from demons.

Feathers - symbol of ascension, communication with the spirit world (if worn). Feathered cloaks means the ability to travel between the two realms.

Plants (vegetation) - symbol of cyclical nature of birth and death

Smoke (dream mist?) - symbol of ascension of prayers and purified souls.

Mist - Transition, supernatural intervention

Purple - royalty

Deer - Benevolence, purity, dawn, homonym for abundance, swiftness. Female deer symbolizes female rite of passage.

Music - linked to the origin of life. Natural, rhythmic sounds are an attempt to communicate to nature and animals, while sophisticated/complicated music is connected with the planets and cosmic order.

Child - purity, potential, innocence, natural state, free of anxiety. Symbol of mystic knowledge, openness of faith. Only children and those like unto children could enter the kingdom of heaven.

Wow, reading this gave me goosebumps, especially the 'feathers' part.

I just finished an illustration that I feel taps into some of the mythical space of Black Lake:

owl_totem_by_kaio89-d5n5hlk.png

"Feathered cloaks means the ability to travel between the two realms." - this was probably hidden in my unconscious all the time working on this.

No foxes, though :D

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We used the book to look up the symbolic meanings behind some of the key elements in our game, ...

nice!

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Symbols that people are already familiar with and relate to are beneficial, but it is easy enough to generate a symbol's meaning within a story. For the most part, it feels to me that objects and animals represent things that are logical. Foxes are sneaky creatures that often thrive on stealing morsels from other predators, so already in most people's minds, they are an example of mischievousness, thievery, and cunning. Basically, all of the things already mentioned as things a fox symbolizes. A lantern sheds light of things previously unseen. It is an oasis of knowledge in a dark world of shadow. In a landscape at night, it is the only twinkle of a sign of life (if you omit your other senses). It is not a far jump for it to symbolize the things mentioned already. So, if you portray something as an example of a particular attribute in the story that makes logical sense, and characters in the story's world use it as a symbol of that attribute, it is understood by the audience as a symbol of that attribute quite easily.

To start looking at existing symbols is great inspiration, though.

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