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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54 Comments
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. ;)
jabberwok Dec 14, 2016 @ 11:54pm 
@Orbb09 Yeah, I guess I saw it as separate lines in a poem or something. If there was an 'of' in there, that would make a huge difference in how I read it, but the lack of sentence structure between the first two words changed it for me into a sort of word association rather than a single thought. Thanks for the explanation.
Orbb09  [author] Dec 14, 2016 @ 4:15pm 
@jabberwok I guess it's because I read it as a sentence moreso than as individual words. The way you have it reads like "Transcendence. Faith. Immortality." Where I read it as "Transcendence [of] faith [in] mortality." Meaning something/someone has lost faith in mortality and believes this new state of mind to be better, although this can also be interpreted other ways. Pretty much all the rest of the translations are sentences or sentence fragments so it made more sense to me for it to also read like that instead of words stated individually. Your translation is just as valid as mine though! It may even be the way it was intended to be read.
jabberwok Dec 14, 2016 @ 6:44am 
For the first North tablet, I had translated it as "transcendence faith immortality" instead of "in mortality". Any reason you chose to go with the latter? Obviously, either one fits the text, but the first seemed to make more sense to me.
Laerrus Nov 27, 2016 @ 9:18am 
@pieter.moerkerke
Thanks for the spoiler, after the author took the time to hide spoilers... .. .. . . .
BerserkerCircus Nov 26, 2016 @ 12:11am 
i think "the cell in the center of the earth" is talking about the final boss. it could be warning you about what happened and what you're gonna find under the ground.
Mr. Helix Oct 31, 2016 @ 12:30pm 
Interresting how this clears up basically nothing about the plot.