Saturday, November 20, 2021

Automating UDEL 1.0

new automatic UDEL tool

Hail Santa at Terminal Velocity invented UDEL, or “Uniform Data Entry Language,” a conlang for Mothership and other sci-fi games. I’ve written this tool to help write it, and while it’s not feature-complete, I thought I’d better release something soon rather than tinker with it forever.

It’s pretty straightforward to use: type the words you want in the box, and click the link to draw them. Words connected by underbars (“_”) will be drawn in a cartouche (i.e. proper nouns). Numbers are drawn correctly, but you’ll have to “pre-process” them, which is to say, break them into groups of 3 digits, etc. If a word is not on the word list, it will be drawn as a blank stave.

Right now the tool is hosted on a Blogger “Page” instead of a proper post, because making it a post somehow hides all the other posts on my blog and I have no idea where to start with that.


  • Implement underlines. How should they be represented in input?
  • UDEL is nominally symmetrical in many circumstances. I’d like to add an “up” arrow to the left side so that a UDEL plaque, for example, could be oriented from any direction.
  • Implement punctuation.
  • Improve the layout engine. It’s really clunky right now, and strongly favors square numbers of words.
  • Automate representation of numbers.
  • Automate representation of plurals, posessives.
  • Highlight out-of-list words in the input field.
  • Suggest in-list synonyms for out-of-list words.
  • Add a function to export the final image.

Play with it, use it, test it, break it, let me know what you think!

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