Hyper Light Drifter

Hyper Light Drifter

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Decyphering the Language of Hyper Light Drifter
By Orbb09 and 1 collaborators
Within this guide is a cypher that will show you how to translate the HLD language to English. Also included are the translations for all the monoliths and the Library (hidden behind spoiler tags for those who want to decode them themselves).
 
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Introduction
Throughout the world of Hyper Light Drifter you will come across glyphs such as at the shops or on the monoliths. This got me curious and thinking, what do they say? I used the glyphs at the shops in town as a starting point and managed to create a full cypher for decoding the glyphs throughout the game. If you're thinking about decoding them yourself be ready to spend quite a bit of time decoding!
Cypher


Understanding the Cypher

This cypher shows the letters of the alphabet and their corresponding in-game glyphs. Many of the glyphs represent two letters instead of only one. The glyphs that represent more than one letter are colour coded to make it easier to find the matching letter/glyph that you are looking for. For example, the letters A and O are represented by the same glyph and therefore are both highlighted in light orange in the cypher. The glyphs highlighted in white represent only one character each. For example, C is the only letter with the glyph shown just below it. The letters that are blacked out (J, Q, X, and Z) do not have any corrisponding glyphs as far as I know. There are no spaces in the glyphs, you have to see where they are yourself.
Using the Cypher
First off, find the glyphs that you want to translate. We're going to start with one of the shops that you can find in town.



The glyphs are read from top to bottom as opposed to from left to right, which is how we normally read. For demonstration purposes, i'm going to number each glyph so we can easily identify each of them.


Glyph
Letter 1
Letter 2
1
S
2
R
W
3
A
O
4
R
W
5
D
T
6
M
N
7
A
O
8
S
9
D
T
10
E
U
11
R
W

Now it becomes a bit of a guessing game. with the exception of glyph 1 and 8 which only have one letter, you need to choose one of the two letters from each glyph until they make words that make sense. In this case, you can spell the phrase "SWORDMASTER".
I recommend grabbing a sheet of paper and a pencil when doing this on your own as having the letters displayed side-by-side makes detemining words much easier! Here's an example of how I did "SWORDMASTER"

Decoding the Monoliths
This is what many of us are really here for, so let's get to it! Myself and my friend NoDuckNoDodge have spent hours going through and decoding each of the 16 monoliths.

*Click for enlarged image

North
Monolith 1: TRANSCENDENCE FAITH IN MORTALITY

Monolith 2: RIFTS CRAFTED, DANGEROUS POTENTIAL

Monolith 3: A FOUNDATION FOR FAITH & VIOLENCE

Monolith 4: A LOSS OF SELF, A NARROW PATH TRAVELED

South
Monolith 5: OVERWHELMING WONDERS AND POWER

Monolith 6: DESPERATE HUNGER FOR PROGRESS

Monolith 7: DISTORTION OF LIFE, DEVOURING BODY

Monolith 8: THE FIRST VICTIM OF THE INVASION

East
Monolith 9: AN ISOLATED PEOPLE FEARFUL & OBSESSED

Monolith 10: OFFERING OF A GREAT CLEANSING FLAME

Monolith 11: A POISONED, MADDENED HOMELAND

Monolith 12: FRAGILE BALANCE SCORCHED, UNDONE

West
Monolith 13: PRECIOUS MOMENTS CAPTURED BY CRYSTAL

Monolith 14: A STILLNESS OF MIND, SKILL HONED SHARP

Monolith 15: MIDNIGHT LOOMING

Monolith 16: TRAPPED BY DESPERATION TO REMAIN
The Library
*Click for enlarged image

After finding all 16 monoliths the full text of the library is revealed. This text translates to the following:

HARNESSING A GREAT WELLSPRING, A PERFECT IMMORTAL CELL WAS CRAFTED TO BE IMBUED WITHIN ALL SENTIENT LIFE A NOBLE GOAL, THOUGH SUCH A POWER TERRIFIED OTHERS, AND BROUGHT RUIN AS ITS PURPOSE WAS TRANSMOGRIFIED
THE ABHORRENT CELL STILL FESTERS DEEP IN THE CHAMBERS OF THIS WORLD


If you have any suggestions on what you want me to add, feel free to ask below!
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60 Comments
「RORIK SAVANT」 Aug 13 @ 2:27pm 
It was, thank you!
Orbb09  [author] Aug 11 @ 10:02pm 
@「RORIK SAVANT」
Watch this video from 36:57 (the link will auto send you to that spot) to 40:00 for directions.
https://youtu.be/zI0Wdnu9D7U?t=36m57s
Hope that was helpful!
「RORIK SAVANT」 Aug 11 @ 4:27am 
I collected the 16 monoliths. Where can I find that big wall of text at the end? (The library)
Orbb09  [author] Jul 5 @ 5:27pm 
@Joblerone I didn't number them in any specific order really; it was only so that the reader could match the image of the monolith with the text below the image. There are already some great guides on how to find the monoliths, and it's easy enough to visually match the monolith the reader has found to the corrisponding text by simply looking at the image provided. Thanks for the suggestion, but I think that it's unnecessary. As for updating the text, I only wrote the punctuation as it was provided in the glyphs. Adding additional punctuation takes away authanticity and the ability to interpret the writing in different ways. For example, see my conversation with Jabberwok below about the first North monolith. The punctuation can completely change the meaning.
Joblerone Jul 4 @ 11:37pm 
Additionally, I think this walkthrough would be immensely benefitted by the addition of images depicting the in-world location of each of these monoliths so they can be distinguished from one another in the list of all 16 monoliths (as monolith 12 might be monolith 8 for someone who did the zones in a different order). If this is a thing you decide to include, I can work on helping provide you images.
Joblerone Jul 4 @ 11:35pm 
suggested revision for original text with added punctuation for ease of reading;

HARNESSING A GREAT WELLSPRING, A PERFECT IMMORTAL CELL WAS CRAFTED TO BE IMBUED WITHIN ALL SENTIENT LIFE; A NOBLE GOAL, THOUGH SUCH A POWER TERRIFIED OTHERS, AND BROUGHT RUIN AS ITS PURPOSE WAS TRANSMOGRIFIED.
THE ABHORRENT CELL STILL FESTERS DEEP IN THE CHAMBERS OF THIS WORLD.
jabberwok Jan 7 @ 5:51am 
@Durtle02 I didn't really see it that way. Periods are not used elsewhere even in the library text, which is the only one that forms a complete sentence. In fact, even within that first monolith, the alternate translation still lacks punctuation between 'transcendence' and 'faith', so neither version is more grammatically correct than the other (adding an 'of' would change this, but there isn't one). I read each monolith as more of a poem with implied line breaks, like an extra short haiku. In that context, adding or removing periods doesn't alter the cadence drastically, and has no effect on the meaning. The three-noun translation keeps the rhythm constant, is more symmetrical, and seems to more accurately espouse the major themes at play. In my mind, the concepts of transcendence and immortality through faith fit together much more clearly and neatly. I'm not saying the other translation is inaccurate, but this is why I prefer my own.
Orbb09  [author] Jan 2 @ 6:55pm 
Grrr. Steam just disabled the use of colored font and broke my guide (as well as many other peoples) a bit. Guess i'll have to go through and fix the text so there isn't a bunch of color tags showing through.
Durtle02 Jan 1 @ 1:06pm 
I made a simple Java program to speed up the decyphering process for anyone who wants it.

http://www.durtle02.com/HyperLightDrifter/HLD_Glyph_Decoder.jar
Durtle02 Dec 31, 2016 @ 5:08pm 
@jabberwok At first i read it as that too but if it was formated that way you would need periods which there is a glyph for and three more symbols could have been added so it's most likely the other way by logical sence. ;)