How to do you naming your locations?

Kupotepo

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@MushroomCake28, ok. Let me try again. Am I go down the rabbit hole?
[United States trademark law] A trademark is a word, phrase, or logo that identifies the source of goods or services. [This is for business identification]
  • It cannot be generic
  • It cannot be descriptive of goods
  • Suggestive
  • Arbitrary and Fanciful

The copyright law of the United States grants monopoly protection for "original works of authorship" such as an invention, an art, and a book. [This is for authentic works and protects the exclusive right of creator]
  • A mechanical, non-selective collection of facts (e.g., alphabetized phone numbers) cannot be protected by copyright.
  • You can create parodies and Education purposes with copyright material.
 

MushroomCake28

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Correct. So you can use a city's name because it is not protected by copyrights. You just can't make people think your product is made by the city.
 

HumanNinjaToo

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As far as naming locations goes, I try my best to keep it simple. One trick I learned a long time ago, and this works for most locations, is to pick two traits of the location and put them together. Sometimes a thesaurus can help if you get stuck on words that don't mesh well together.

I think this works well for the most part. For example: a village in the mountains with some vegetation = Stonebriar; if the ground is more reddish in color = Redstone; if the village features something unique like a bridge = Stonebridge. I also look at old English words for locations; for instance the old English word for a forest/wooded area is copse, so I may name a dark and foreboding forest the Grim Copse.

I think simpler is almost better. You want something to be easily identifiable by the player, something they can remember easily as well. Personally, I think it's always a mistake to have strange and fantastical names for all locations, especially if you are using unfamiliar language. This makes it difficult to remember and/or pronounce. Personally, when I find it difficult to pronounce something I end of glossing over it when reading the text; and, as a result, I find it not very memorable.

That being said, I do think some unique locations do need unique names to help them stand out. But even then, I think they should easily pronounced and have some ties to the overall story; not just a fancy name for the sake of having a fancy name.
 

Kupotepo

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Correct. So you can use a city's name because it is not protected by copyrights. You just can't make people think your product is made by the city.
Thank you for your correction. So the fantasy world, the city cannot copyright products. Therefore, the city has to grant copyright to the store's owner. [I am just kidding. It is the fantasy world. I can what come to my mind.] No copyright the use of Greek fire by another city only to the scientist who creates it. :guffaw:
[It is a different topic about state ownership right and private ownership right. I do not want to get into it. I sure it is going to be a long discussion that will not beneficial to game production, but something else for sure.]
 
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RCXDan

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Location names in my stuff tend to focus on their overall theme and meaning, but I also keep it simple so the player doesn't get overwhelmed/conversations between characters sound natural.

For my main project, the kingdoms are based off of both elements and real world countries like Russia, Spain, Japan, etc. so it helps me actually design how these places work. For example, Sundew Town in the Earth Kingdom of Terrantia. (Sundews are a type of flower, and respect for nature is a defining quality here)

Even with more fantastical places, this principle still applies: Illustria is the name for Heaven because angels have a connotation with moonlight, basically being a play on illustrious (shining bright light). Carcera is the name for Hell because it means prison, etc. etc.

That kind of thing.
 

Kupotepo

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@HumanNinjaToo, thank you for your demonstration and explaining thoughts processing.
@RCXDan, thank you for your information.

Let me processing, I will respond with questions or jokes. Thanks you everyone for your advices.
 

Tai_MT

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A lot of the way I name things comes from the world and cultures which exist within the world. It's often a mish-mash of words and languages depending on who actually did the naming.

For example:

City of Tempest
Tevris City
City of Frelia
Southern Spray
Taskun
Oasis
Kasha Castle

You have the obvious ones which are just words. Tempest, Southern Spray, Oasis. Tempest was named for how it was founded, Southern Spray is named because of the kingdom of Kellah (Kellah is someone's name) it resides in and they are very "poetical" about how they name things, and Oasis is literally an Oasis in the desert.

Then, you have the ones that are names of people. Tevris City and Taskun. Tevris is who founded the city of Tevris (early on, people who couldn't pronounce this name called him 'Travis' instead). Taskun was named after a "holy man" and his deeds.

Then, you have the "Language Barrier" names. "Frelia" and "Kasha". Frelia is some long dead and forgotten language. It supposedly means "Freedom". Nobody knows for sure. "Kasha" is Elven for "Home".
---
Aside from the cultures, my personal choice in how they were named is based on fairly simplistic criteria.

1. Smash syllables together until one sounds cool or like it "rolls off the tongue".

2. Be as unimaginative as people are in real life and just name things after people, events, or local landmarks.

3. Roll dice for random letters. Decide how many letters it should be and roll dice to see what I get (1=A, 2=B, 3=C, 20 means I roll a second dice for the last six letters of the alphabet). Sometimes, just for fun, I'll roll a dice to determine how many letters it should be too. If what I come up with looks like letter salad or like it's too crazy... I start again.

4. Corruptions of actual words, names, and phrases. "Tevris" being a corruption of "Travis". "Taskun" being a corruption of "Ta-kun" from FLCL. "Talgras" being a corruption of "Tall Grass".

5. Importance of location to storyline. Nobody wants to storm Misty Plains to defeat the BBEG. But, they'd love to storm "The Haunted Moors".

Names really isn't too hard, so long as it isn't difficult to remember.

For example: In Final Fantasy XIV, I will forever call the coastal land "La Nosica". It is actually "La Noscea". You can easily see the problem here. "La Nah Sih Ka" more quickly and easily comes to mind than "La Nah See Ya". Basically, one quick "glance" at the name of the area and it was forever "Nosica" in my brain rather than "Noscea", because that quick look made it "too complicated" to try to figure out how to pronounce it.

So, you do have to keep player tendencies in mind when naming things as well. Namely, that a quick glance at the name doesn't snowball into them pronouncing it wrong forever, or not knowing its name forever.
 

Willibab

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I made up a fictional language and named things with it ^^ Wouldn't recommend it tho... I also name placed based on events in my story, like Calahan's Rest...Where a king made his last stand etc... I sometimes just twist existing names too, so instead of ''The Wilds'', i do ''the Wyldens''. I do like latin words but i feel its so overused :p
 

Kupotepo

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As far as naming locations goes, I try my best to keep it simple. One trick I learned a long time ago, and this works for most locations, is to pick two traits of the location and put them together. Sometimes a thesaurus can help if you get stuck on words that don't mesh well together.
I see that I have just combine geography characteristics of a location such as grey+water, red+forest, or black+forest, hearth+stone. Is that the correct approach?

I think this works well for the most part. For example: a village in the mountains with some vegetation = Stonebriar; if the ground is more reddish in color = Redstone; if the village features something unique like a bridge = Stonebridge. I also look at old English words for locations; for instance the old English word for a forest/wooded area is copse, so I may name a dark and foreboding forest the Grim Copse.
Thank you for the examples.

Personally, I think it's always a mistake to have strange and fantastical names for all locations, especially if you are using unfamiliar language. This makes it difficult to remember and/or pronounce.
I agree with your assessment. Many western writers use Nordic languages to generate the names of cities and people which can be difficult to pronounce with a proper language education on that language. I agree there might make players have a hard time remember those names.
 
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