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September 20, 2019, 03:19:30 PM

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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperBusinessSRPG name feedback!
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Craig Stern
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« on: July 02, 2019, 12:33:55 PM »

Hey there, TIGfolk! It's been a while. I've returned because I want your opinion!

I've been hard at work on a new strategy RPG for about 3 years now, and it's finally come time to name the thing so I can commission some proper title art.

The premise: every day, you have the opportunity to recruit proc gen characters with their own dynamically generated names, portraits, backgrounds, personalities, dialogue, etc. By day, they fight for you in a (not remotely historically accurate) gladiatorial tournament; by night, they build relationships with each other and pursue their own personal hobbies.

The overall vibe straddles a line between serious and cutesie. I've been using the working title Telepath Tourney (because it's part of the Telepath series), but that's kinda bland and I know I can do better. I want something that evokes the nature of the game, with its dual focus on tactical battle and the growing closeness of your allies; or perhaps something that stresses the near-infinite well of potential characters you can recruit.

What name would you choose for this game, and why? Would you use it as a subtitle following "Telepath Tactics: ", or just kinda leave it to players to figure out that it's connected to a series?

To start this off, here are a few ideas I've brainstormed that may or may not be trash:

  • Companions in Arms
  • Infinite Heroes
  • Hearts of Battle
  • Hearts Ablaze
  • Tactics Gladiatoria
  • Heroes of the Arena
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fluffrabbit
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« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2019, 03:12:30 PM »

"Companions in Arms" and "Infinite Heroes" sound like cheap knockoff apps. "Tactics Gladiatoria" sounds vaguely Asian, which I'm assuming the game is not. "Hearts Ablaze" sounds good except it implies more of a character focus, not so much strategy.

So that leaves "Hearts of Battle" and "Heroes of the Arena". They both sound dignified and somewhat accurate.
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TonyLi
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« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2019, 06:14:35 PM »

If you're aiming for a commercial release, might as well get the minimum requirements out of the way:

- Unique enough to stand a chance in search results. A game named "Board" will have a hard time bubbling up in search results.

- Needs to be easy to speak and spell. Word of mouth means a lot. "Hearts of Battle" is easier to say -- and spell -- than "Tactics Gladiatoria". (On the other hand, Tactics Gladiatoria is more unique, more interesting. It just has the speaking and spelling challenge.)

- Consider domain name availability. Even if you're not going to get a domain name specifically for the game, you don't people to confuse it with an existing domain name. A game named for two protagonists Por 'n Hub is probably a bad idea.

Stardew Valley and Neo Cab are good examples of names that are memorable, unique, and convey something about the game's ethos. Stardew Valley is very homey. Neo Cab is a great name. It's short, easy to say and spell, memorable, and immediately gets across what the game is about. It's a futuristic cyberpunk cab game. A lot of games in the DevLogs section have names I really like, such as Space Punk Slam Dunk, Manifold Garden, Village Monsters, etc. They're unique, easy to share, and immediately convey something about the game's hook or style.

Of the ones you've brainstormed so far:

Heroes of the Arena sounds like a generic MOBA. If you're hoping to snare a few people who think they're getting Heroes of the Storm, it's a good name.

Hearts Ablaze is a romance novel. Maybe a visual novel?

Hearts of Battle is pretty good. "Hearts" covers the nighttime relationships and hobbies. "Battle" covers the daytime combat. It's easy to say and spell. And the domain name is available. Any ideas for more unique variations on the idea, maybe something that helps reflect more about the game's unique setting or theme?

Any other ideas that capture the gladiatorial sense of the game?
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Craig Stern
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« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2019, 07:54:11 AM »

Thanks for the feedback!

So, gladiatoria is Latin, a conjugation of "gladiatorius," and I believe means something in the ballpark of "a thing relating to gladiators." It's a cooler-sounding way of writing "Gladiator Tactics." So while that ought to communicate the gladiatorial theme of the game, it's definitely a mouthful and one that requires people to infer its meaning from related words.

Perhaps "Hearts of the Arena"? "Hearts of Battle" is a lot snappier, though. "Arena Hearts"? Snappier, but sounds kinda like a Kingdom Hearts knock-off. Unfortunately, a lot of titles that snappily convey camaraderie in battle are already taken (Battle Brothers, Battleheart, Battle Friends, etc.) "Shoulder to Shoulder" might get it across, but the site's taken.

What about "Together we Triumph"? It's a bit in the "Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together" vein, but less stilted and weird.
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fluffrabbit
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« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2019, 04:06:24 PM »

We illiterate peasants don't know Latin, so that might be a small blocker, notwithstanding the sorta cool sound of "Tactics Gladiatoria".

Any time you put "Hearts" in a title it sounds like Kingdom Hearts. Maybe try German, the other half of English? Herz aus Schlacht. "Schlacht" means both "battle" and "slaughter". Either way, the meaning is the same to me: people who are obsessed with combat. Their hearts are "of" battle. The way of the warrior, etc.
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TonyLi
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« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2019, 06:53:46 PM »

I won't argue that Tactics Gladiatoria is the most interesting and unique of the names so far. I studied four years of Latin in high school (how I didn't end up stuffed in a locker every day, I'll never know), but even so "Gladiatoria" is a mouthful, and a bit of a beast to type properly. Certainly not as easy as Doom or Minecraft.

I like where you're going with "Together We Triumph". Any other ideas along that line? Maybe it's just me, but "Together We Triumph" sounds like political propaganda, like "Make America Great Again". But the idea behind the name is good. It implies relationships, and struggle or combat.

It's a bit wordy, but what about "We Who Are About To Die" (from Ave Imperator morituri te salutamus). The "we" conveys a group, and the phrase is a common one in pop culture about gladiators.

Is there anything unique about the game's world or main NPCs that you could pull into the name?

Since this is a Tactics game, what about Tactics: Gladius? This differentiates it from the 2003 game Gladius and also links it to the Tactics theme.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2019, 06:47:31 AM by TonyLi » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2019, 09:44:42 AM »

Hmm... I like the Latin version, but "gladiatoria" does seem a bit of a mouthful, I fear.

Similar to the above suggestion, perhaps something using the word from which "gladiator" is derived: "gladius", meaning "sword" (or a specific type of sword, depending on context, I think).

Hmm... What about "Gladius Nights", alluding to both halves of the gameplay?

Maybe try German, the other half of English?

I fear that German is also somewhat intimidating to those not already familiar with it. I have a small amount of exposure to the language, and even so I find myself stumbling a little at words like "Schlacht".
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fluffrabbit
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« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2019, 10:53:34 AM »

Myself, I don't speak German. But I have recently begun to appreciate the study of other languages. While Roman gladiators were the most famous, the tradition existed in Greece before that and continued in limited form after the Holy Roman Empire finally disintegrated.

While Latin was the language spoken by the Romans, there are other geographically appropriate languages associated with gladiators which are still in common use. I believe the Arabs had a form of gladiator matches, and old German was presumably spoken in and around Rome near the end, plus don't forget the jousting and pit fighting in England centuries later. So you could use normal words. Just nothing too generic.
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Zaphos
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« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2019, 05:39:22 PM »

If the life-outside-of-battle elements are a big part of it then maybe pick a name that plays that part up, as it sounds like the more distinct bit?

Some random ones:

Tactics Life
Our Lives as Killers
Gladiator Days
The Gladiators
Love in the Arena
The Bad Glad Life
Gladiator Simulator
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fluffrabbit
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« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2019, 10:38:41 PM »

Love in the Arena... That sounds like one of my own game ideas. Well, hello there!
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Craig Stern
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« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2019, 09:08:41 AM »

Thanks for the continued thoughts! I also thought of something using "Gladius," but I'm afraid it'd just invite comparison to the 2003 game (which was actually also a turn-based tactics title). "Gladiator Nights" just sounds a little too much like a gladiator-themed sex game for my taste, but it's a good thought otherwise.

I actually really really like this one:

Our Lives as Killers

Only problem is, it's a little too dark. This is a cutesie (and to some extent, sanitized) game designed to be approachable to a wide audience--I'm wary about using language that suggests a blood-soaked killfest. I have a related problem with "We Who Are About to Die."

I like where you're going with "Together We Triumph". Any other ideas along that line? Maybe it's just me, but "Together We Triumph" sounds like political propaganda, like "Make America Great Again".

I'm actually afraid it echoes Hillary's slogan ("Stronger Together") a bit too much, if anything. But yeah. I think it has that feel because it's evocative!

Is there anything unique about the game's world or main NPCs that you could pull into the name?

Well, let's see. It takes place on the isle of Dese, a sort of fantasy analog to India that does not traditionally host a gladiatorial tournament, but which has been obliged to host one for some decades now at the behest of the Empire that controls the island. Under the guise of participating in the gladiatorial games, the player is secretly training soldiers for a resistance to said empire. The king of Dese secretly despises the gladiatorial games, viewing them as an outside imposition that runs counter to the principles of his people; he eventually learns of the player's group and decides to aid them behind the scenes, helping them to elude detection by the imperial praetor who's searching for them.

In short: the game has a decidedly anti-colonial bent to it, but mostly that's meant to be a sort of under-the-radar thing that is gradually revealed through play. I dunno how (or if) I'd want to incorporate that into the title...
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« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2019, 09:28:45 AM »

Hmm... What about "Beneath the Arena's Sand"--referencing not only the relationship stuff going on "behind the scenes", but also the "underground" machinations against the Empire?

While Latin was the language spoken by the Romans, there are other geographically appropriate languages associated with gladiators which are still in common use. ...
True, but of non-English languages I think that Latin has a degree and form of cachet and recognition (in the West, at least) that many others don't. It's the "learned language" of old, and one with close ties to images of the Ancient Rome. Or at least, such is my impression!

Still, knowing now that the game is set in a place inspired by India, perhaps there are some words from the languages of that part of the world that might suit? I don't know said languages myself, but perhaps someone else here might.
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« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2019, 09:30:36 PM »

Quote
Beneath the Arena's Sand
I just got that. It refers to the space under a gladiatorial arena. That's pretty good.
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Craig Stern
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« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2019, 08:22:12 AM »

All right, y'all: I've decided on "Together in Battle." Thanks for your help! Beer!
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