Okay.

So at this point in the game we had our

Galactic: Kids Next Door teaser trailer.

And we figured that the best way to get it out

to the world's operatives was to build a website to launch it on.

But we didn't want to make it easy for evil adults to find it.

So we decided it needed a secret g:KND log-in.

And the g:KND,

being not of this Earth,

would need their own universal alien font.

And I knew just the

genius

who could do that.

I mean... that's Guy Moore's jam.

Aside from

storyboarding,

directing,

and

gaming

and such.

So Numbuh D-20

started mashing lines and dots and stuff together

to make new lines and dots.

He used a 4.

...

And a vowel.

There were vowels.

...

...

SO many lines and dots.

lines an---akjsfag689d

$(#&m.-

<transmission interrupted>

THIS IS NUMBUH D-20.

I HAVE TEMPORARILY TAKEN OVER MR. WARBURTON’S BLOG

IN ORDER TO EXPLAIN
THE DERIVATION OF THE

GALACTIC KIDS NEXT DOOR ALPHABET AND NUMERICAL
SYSTEM.

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ADJUST YOUR
BROWSER.

Regarding the alphabet, you have to understand:

I’ve been fascinated with letters and symbols
all my life.

As a teenager, I used to create substitution ciphers where the

26
English letters were swapped out for made-up symbols,

and then memorize them,
until I could write notes to friends in class

and sight-read their responses without
using the key.

(We were always hoping the teacher would catch us and threaten
to

read the notes out loud, so we could watch her try…)

Then in college, I
learned how to translate and calligraph

J.R.R.Tolkien’s Tengwar runes, the ones
used to write Elvish.

And then as an adult, I had fun bending my head around

the D’ni script in Cyan’s

*Myst*games,
and working with fonts and typography of all sorts.

So when Mr. Warburton said
he needed an “alien font” for GKND, I was stoked.

Right in my wheelhouse!

At first I thought he meant that he wanted science-fiction-y
looking English:

But then he said, no, he didn’t want English.

He wanted made-up
alien letters, just like those ciphers I made as a kid.

Even better!

Because of my age and background, my default starting point
for

cool-looking sci-fi anything is the work Syd Mead did on

*Tron*.
Also at that point, I had already
nailed down the circuitry design

for the booger reader, and followed that
through with

Chad’s handcuffs, so I knew I wanted to stay with that

kind of ice-blue
line and rounded corners for the letters.

To get my head into it, I just
started doodling symbols

whenever I wasn’t doing anything else.

On notecards.

On envelopes.

On 8.5 x 11 sheets of white Xerox paper.

On the dog.

Eventually
my house was littered with pages and pages of them,

like some kind of alternate-dimension
Unabomber manifesto:

But out of that doodling and the stuff I had already learned

about alphabets came some clarity regarding what I was looking for:

1)
The characters needed to be easy to draw, with a
minimum of strokes.

None of the 26 English letters takes more than 4 strokes to
make,

for example-- and neither do the GKND letters,

if you’re not too
particular about hitting every corner perfectly.

2)
The characters needed to have a common design
thread.

Symbols that look like part of the same alphabet each use similar
shapes,

scale and/or mirror those shapes, adhere to

common base and height
lines, etcetera.

For GKND, everything is based off either a square,

or a
triangle of roughly the same size as the square.

3)
The characters needed to retain enough diversity

that they could be quickly distinguishable from each other, even at small size.

4)
The characters would ideally be capable of being
elided or combined

in ways that were interesting, and would make them more
alien.

Q and U, T and H, and other pairs of that sort were designed to work
with each other.

5)
The characters would ideally retain just enough
resemblance

to the English letters they were representing that you could start
to see it if

you stared at them long enough. This is wildly subjective, of
course,

and not true of all the letters, but in general, you can

sort of “find”
the lowercase English

character in each corresponding GKND character,

if you
look hard enough.

So with those guidelines established, I winnowed the

pack
until I got an alphabet that satisfied me:

It satisfied Mr. Warburton, too.

(He’s great that way.)

And it worked pretty well for the intended
application:

The only punctuation we established was the colon,

because
that was the only character we knew for sure was needed.

And the fact that it all looked twice as cool

when we italicized it was just good fortune!

-------------

The numbers were a different challenge.

Above and beyond their potential use in the
website,

we wanted to have them because it’d make it possible for both us

and
the fans to write KND Operative Numbers

(which was what *I* wanted to do, and
what I was pretty sure *they’d* want to do, too.)

And I wanted all the same design principles we
applied to the letters

to

*also*apply to whatever digits we created.
So I
started doodling again:

My early attempts were somewhat pictographic

(that is, I
tried to use geometry as an indication for digit value;

triangle for 3, square
for 4, etcetera.)

But that rapidly got tricky beyond 6.

Once you start trying to reinvent the wheel
this way,

you quickly discover that our digits and our number system

are the
way they are because they very efficiently fulfill the criteria

of being quick
to write and easy to read.

(You’re probably not going to come up with something
in

3 weeks that bests 3000 years of development by the entire human race!)

But I kept trying.

The one constant was
knowing that I wanted

to base all the digits on a circle, to distinguish

them
from the square and triangle-based GKND letters,

and to avoid plagiarizing
Richard A. Watson’s square-framed D’ni numbers.

(Contrary to what I said above, RAWA managed to

come up with an
internally consistent, symbolically

elegant way of rendering the numbers for
the

*Myst*games-- and in Base 25, no less!)
We landed here:

The idea that started to pull it all together was to

represent digit places by “flagging” the digits with add-ons,

rather than
listing more digits.

So instead of
writing 10 as 1-0, or 20 as 2-0,

10 would be a 1 with a 10s flag,

20 would be a
2 with a 10s flag,

and so forth.

With
flags for tens, hundreds, and thousands,

you could create 10,000 and 100,000
just by combining;

ditto for millions,
once you had its flag.

It made the
system more interesting and alien than just

listing all the digits of any given
number in a row, and better still,

it had the side effect of making large
numbers in round quantities

just as quick and easy to write as small ones.

If you want to get all geeky about it,

essentially the GKND numerical system

eliminates non-information-bearing
digits.

(Whoa...)

We went around and around on whether the system should be
Base 10 or Base 12.

(Mr. Warburton started bleeding from his nose, and possibly
his eyes,

after the third hour of listening to me rant about it.)

We knew the fans were smart, and would be

doing everything in their power to crack whatever

we put in front of them, and
I thought using Base 12 instead of

Base 10 would slow them down a little.

There was also the important fact that the
number 12

was

*intensely*significant to the Kids Next Door mythology,
because 13 marked the advent of Teen status
and Decommissioning.

Ultimately though,
we decided to stick with Base 10,

because we wanted everyone to be in on the
fun.

Our favorite characters are from Earth,
and use Base 10.

The show is watched by Earth
people (as far as we know) who use Base 10.

And if we stuck to Base 10, then Numbuhs likely to be picked by those

Earth fans would get the benefit of the place short-handing--

whereas if we went with Base 12, Numbuh Dirty
Dozen and Numbuh 2Gross

would be in good shape, but nobody else.

The Base 12 discussion

*did*give us the idea of using that single dot over a digit
as a
quick way of notating a “teen number”, though,

which made sense and gave us even
more variety, so we kept that.

The canon explanation of all this is that the

OLD Galactic Numerical
System of the ancient core GKND

was Base 12 and pictographic.

But as the GKND grew and expanded, more
member races

were using Base 10 than any other system,

and they also needed a
fully realized,

flexible notation capable of advanced mathematics.

So the NEW Galactic Numerical system is Base
10,

but retains some of the old Base 12 pictographs, and a variant of the Teen
notation.

Which is pretty much what
Numbuh Vine says in the Epilogue,

before her human disguise goes on the fritz.

As you can see in the diagrams, I did a preliminary
exploration of what

exponents and decimals might be like,

but any further
mathematical symbology or notation has yet to defined.

Perhaps that’s up to YOU…

END TRANSMISSION

## 5 comments:

Wow! That process is really cool! I hope to hear more about the making of the G:KND! It is so interesting.

That's so cool and amazing. Glad to know what the last few letter are. Can't wait for more news about it!

That's. Awesome.

Taking your to do all this work with cryptography just for the fans have a little fan cracking it up and even coming with a story that the G:KND used to use base 12 numbers and nowadays use base 10 numbers but with a touch of base 12, that's is amazing, thank you Guy Moore, you rock :D

That's pretty impressive. I wouldn't mind trying to learn this language.

this alphabet should get extended , we need a full alphabet .

letters for "oo","?","!"

who is with me ?

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