Thuum.org

thuum main

Su'um Ahrk Morah

Thuum.org is the collision of work and hobby, and is a great example of why I’m a developer. It’s a website dedicated to the fictional dragon language featured in the video game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, complete with a dictionary, live search, a chatroom, a translator, and lessons.

Thuum.org began as a simple crowd-sourced dictionary to which fans could submit new words. Over the past year and a half, I have expanded the website with forums, the aforementioned translator, a Q&A board, and much more – all written from scratch. I run the website with contests and events, and curate the fan-submitted words. Since January 2013, the dictionary has grown from 500 words to now almost 5,000 words. It has also been translated into 6 different languages. This project wasn’t just building a website, but a community.

Process

I started Thuum.org as a side project towards the end of my time as a student at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. The idea stemmed from my passion for constructed languages and Skyrim. As I was learning, I wanted to put my skills to use and make a website that not only I would be excited about, but others would be as well.

There were a few existing online resources for the dragon language at the time that I was thinking about Thuum.org, such as wikis. They were incomplete, sometimes inaccurate, and difficult to search. Thuum.org originated from two main questions – what could I do differently, and what could I do better?

Having a website dedicated to a niche subject allowed for more features than a wiki could support. But what exactly would those features be? At the beginning, two main features were clear – a dictionary that could be searched, and a dictionary to which others could contribute. The website’s other features grew from there. The questions then became – now that there’s this dictionary, what can I do with it, and how can I get people involved?

Thuum.org gave me a huge amount of experience in developing, launching, and maintaining a website. I am constantly learning from it, whether it involves programming, writing, community management, or social networking. It has also provided valuable system administration and security experience.

The Labyrinth

To celebrate the site’s one-year anniversary with the community, I wrote The Labryinth, a text adventure roleplaying game based on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The player battles monsters, earns loot, levels up skills, solves puzzles, and hunts down the mysteries deep within The Labyrinth through its 3-6 hours of gameplay. And one more thing – the commands are all in the dragon language!

The Labyrinth is written primarily in Javascript with supporting JQuery, AJAX, PHP, and HTML5. Site members can also save and load game sessions. This feature was a lot of fun to tackle from both a game and web development perspective.

The Labyrinth was conceptualized and developed in a passion-fevered, 3-week span. To date, it is still one of my proudest development and game design accomplishments.

Sikaav

The idea of dragon language Scrabble® started as a joke, but slowly came to possess me with the possibilities and technical challenges involved. An early proof of concept eventually turned into Sikaav, a fully-fledged online multiplayer game.

Sikaav took around 2 months to build, and consists of an HTML/JQuery frontend and a PHP/MySQL backend. This project was all about taking the skills I had developed over the years and pushing them to their limits, from database design, efficient PHP and SQL queries, and a fun and intuitive user experience. Sikaav features a matchmaking system as well as support for custom games, as well as in-game chat and leaderboards.