Alphabet Guide - Version 0.5 (March 7, 2010)

by DaBubba (heiankyo794@yahoo.com)

This is a "translation" guide to the two alphabets used by people 
in Cocoon and on Pulse.

Square (and Square-Enix) have created alphabets for several previous 
games, and while you were never required to decipher them to complete 
the game, they were still a fun diversion.  FF Tactics, for example, 
had an alphabet which was never mentioned in the game or the promotional 
material, and was a total easter egg in the actual game.  FFX had three 
alphabets, and FFXII also had at least one (a gold star to anyone who 
found the phrase "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead!" in that game!), 
though there were few opportunities to see it.  

This game continues the tradition, and this time the characters are seen 
many times -- though you can finish the whole game without paying any 
attention to these letters, the game clearly wants you to notice them.  
This guide will take you through each chapter and describe the examples, 
which are given in CAPITAL LETTERS.  I based it on the original Japanese 
game, so there may be differences, particularly in place names, when the 
English version comes out.

I've numbered this guide 0.5, as it's perhaps half-finished.  (For 
example, I haven't found all the Pulse letters yet, and haven't yet 
included ASCII-based drawings of them in this guide.)  

If you find more examples of writing, or can decipher some of the stuff 
that was too small for me to see, post about it on GameFAQs and I'll 
include it in the next update!  (Don't send me e-mail; I get barraged 
with it and can't reply to every individual.)

----------

Now for the letterforms.  This is primitive, but you'll get a basic idea 
of the alphabet if you look at what's below, making sure that you're 
using a monospaced font, have at least 72 characters per line, and make 
sure the spacing between lines is as close as possible.

....-....1....-....2....-....3....-....4....-....5....-....6....-....70 char


  0           1             2          3            4

     *****       ***        ******       ***         **    **      
   ***  ***        **            **        **        **    **
   **    **        **            **        **        **    **
   **    **        **                                **    **
   **    **        **        *****           **      **    ** 
   **    **        **       ***              **       *******
   **    **        **       **               **            **  
   **    **        **       **               **            **
   **    **        **       **               **            **
   ***  ***        **       **               **            ** 
    ******         **        ******     ******             **    



  5           6            7           8            9

   *******     **              ****      ******       ******   
   **          **                **     **    **     **    **
   **          **                **     **    **     **    **
                                 **     **    **     **    **
   ******      *******          **            **      ******
        **     **    **        **       ********           
        **     **    **       **        **    **           **
        **     **    **      **         **    **           **
        **     **    **      **         **    **           **
        **     **    **      **         **    **           **
   ******       ******       **           *****            **

                 
A               B             C               D             E
                                     
   *******              **                     **    ***    ***** 
  **     **           **       ****              ** *           **
 **       **          **      **  *              ****            * 
**  *****  **    **   ****    *                   **             **
  **     **     ** *  **      ***********        ** *            ***** 
  *       **       *  **               **      **    **              **
  **               *  **                *     **       *              * 
   ********        *  **                *     *        **             *
          **       *  **               **     *         *             *
  **      **       *  **              *       *        **            **
   ********         **             ***         *********    **********
 

F                G             H              I                 
      *  ***          *              **    *     **  **  ** 
      ****        *********          **    *              
    ****         **   *    *        **    *                
   ** *          *    *    *     *  **    *          *    
***   *          *         *     *********           *       
  ******        **** **** ***    *  **               *  
     ******      *         *     *  **              ***    
      *  ***     *         *     *  **             *****
      *  ***     *    *    *     *  **            **   ** 
     ****        **   *    *     *  **           **     **  
  *****           *********       *             **       *** 
***   *               *                           
 
                   
K              L             M              N              O
                      *                                           
    **  ****         **        **              *******        ******* 
   ***               **       ** **                  **      **     **
  * **              **        *  **                   *      **      ** 
 *  **              *         *  **                   *      **      ** 
**  ******         *  ***      * **   ****          **       **      **
    **           **  **  *      ****  **        ** **        **      ** 
    **           *  **   *       *******         ***          ********
    **           *  *    *       **   ****&       *                 
    **            **     *       **   **        ** *        *         *
    **                ***        **   **       **  **       **       **
    **          *******           *****                      *********
                    
                    
P               Q              R              S             T  
                                    *             *         
 ***********      *********        **  *         **  *      *********
      *    **    **   *   **      **  ****      **  **              **
      *     *    **   *   **     **  ** **     **  **         *      **
     *      *    **   *   **    **  **   **   **  **  ***     *      ** 
    **     **    **   *   **   **  **     *      **  ** **    *      **
    **     *     **   *   **      **     *      *****    *    *     **
   **     **      *********      **     **      **       *  *********  
   *      *           *          *     *                **    * 
  **     **      *    *    *          **               **     * 
***    ***        *********         ***              ***      * 



U                V            W                   Y 
                                     
   ********                                       **     *******
  **      **      *********     **        **       **   **  
  *        *     **       **    **   **   **        ** ** ** 
 **        **    **       **    **   **   **         **    **
                  *********     **   **   **        ** ** 
***        **      *****         ******   **       **   **      
  *        *      **   **             ******      **     ** 
  *        *       *****                         **       ****** 
  **      **                                       
   ********                               



Z

****

****
       **
****    **
 **     **
  **   **
   *****

----------


....-....1....-....2....-....3....-....4....-....5....-....6....-....70 char



Now for where you'll actually see all of this.  Keep the above letterforms 
in mind, and you'll soon be reading everything in sight!


Chapter 1 / Hanged Edge

* On the train, in the opening sequence, you can see RENNZOKU (somewhat 
unusually-romanized Japanese for "consecutive") on the ticker-like display 
above the door.

* The Manasuvin monster has CA-13 on its arms.

* Let Lightning fall in battle, and, in big blue Cocoon letters behind the 
English ones you'll see: GAME OVER

* In the tutorial information about PSICOM, you can see "PSICOM" in Cocoon 
letters, then, below that and much smaller, "PUBLIC SECURITY AND 
INTELLIGENCE COMMAND".

* "NO. 8 A2" can be seen on a red label on the ground in Hanged Edge.

* The first shop you get access to is called UNICORN MART, which is what the 
logo says. There are many more online stores, and to avoid spoilers, I'll 
present all of them together at the end.

* You can see "KEEP OUT" repeatedly on the yellow barrier strips that seal 
off restricted areas.

* Gadot's jacket says NORA on the back, wrapping around both sides.


Chapter 2 / Pulse fal'Cie

* There's something on the fal'Cie boss, but it's too brief to see (and if 
you pause, the screen blurs so that you can't see it).  (Anybody have this 
one?)


Chapter 4 / Bodhum Flashback

* At the end of Chapter 4, there's a brief scene with Snow at the beach in 
Bodhum. This is a giant treasure trove of Cocoon writing! We have:

 - All the way on the left, there are some motorbikes. The big writing says 
NORA and the small stuff above that says NO STEP.

 - Above the entrance to the cafe: BEACH HOUSE

 - Yellow sign next to that: BEWARE (I imagine it's one of those 'danger, 
swim at your own risk' signs for the beach, not the restaurant)

 - Vending machines to the right, outside the entrance: BEVERAGES

 - Menus inside the cafe: yellow one, to the right of the register, says 
DRINK MENU, WATER, SODA, COLA, ETC.  Next to that is another sign 
advertising RENTAL, ALL 300: PARASOL, LOUNGE CHAIR, INNER TUBE, DECK CHAIR, 
and BODY BOARD.  On the far right is FOOD, followed by several items with 
prices (including some kind of ICE for 300 gil), DRINK (including WATER for 
300, SPARKLING WATER for 400 and SODA WATER for 450; ORANGE JUICE for 400, 
TEA for 450, and OOLONG TEA for 400).  These prices, presumably in gil, are 
somewhat high were they to be in Japanese yen.  Perhaps the Bodhum beach-
going tourist crowd is on the affluent side.  (Then again, the rentals are 
reasonable.)

 - Above the cash register: RESTAURANT BODHUM, and nearby: REGISTER

 - Behind the cash register are some signs and vending machines. There's an 
ad for SHOUT! soda (above that it says EDEN, and there's also a bottle of it 
up front), a poster of some guy named INFOMA, an arcade-game-like machine 
that says ENN, and two more shelves full of the drink LAGO BLU.


Chapter 5 / Gapra Whitewood

* Immediately upon entering the Gapra Whitewood, you'll see more of the 
familiar KEEP OUT yellow tapes. Near those are some very small letters that 
say COCOON BARRICADE and NO TRESPASSING.


Chapter 7 / Palumpolum

* West Avenue:

 - The ubiquitous KEEP OUT barricades can now be seen close up, and you 
might be able to make out OFF LIMITS AREA in black-on-yellow.  There's some 
more smaller writing that's impossible to read... for now.  Eventually we'll 
see this close up.

 - There are some screens with advertisements rotating through them.  One 
has, PALUM RECORD in purple on black, rotating with a second sign 
containing, in black on a yellow background: PALUMPOLUM PROFESSIONAL SCHOOL.

 - These two are seen in some wall ads too, along with RAINBOW BOOK STORE 
(Sazh must shop there), EDEN / THE SANCTUM, GUARDIAN CORPS, and one more 
that seems to say NOCCEPT and THUROMS AND GUOLS -- not that I know what that 
last one means.

 - Orange-and-yellow, with a picture of a buffalo: BUFFALO PHARMACEUTICAL 
COMPANY.

 - With a picture of a dog: PET SHOP.

 - In gold on a copper window: PALUM RECORD again.

 - Overhanging the area where Snow fires a gun into the air to disperse the 
civilians, in teal and orange with a picture of a cow: PALUMPOLUM 
SUPERMARKET.

 - On a large sign overhanging the road: FELIX 26.

* In the Libera district:

 - More advertisements for SHOUT and INFOMA, plus one black sign that says 
SPEEDY.

* Snow, talking to Hope, will point to a sign reading A GREAT PLACE FOR 
FAMILY LIVING.

* At Hope's house, many books are labeled NOCCEPT.  (Is that a word?  Google 
knows precious little about it.)

Chapter 8 - Nautilus Park

There's lots more writing to see here, too.  This game doesn't offer many 
chances to sit back and smell the roses, but this is one of them.

 - To the right of the starting point, on the green-on-yellow sign: WELCOME 
TO NAUTILUS and INFORMATION TERMINAL.  To the left, there's another such 
sign with WELCOME and REST PLACE.

 - On the big red-on-black train schedule, we've got SUNLETH on the left and 
NAUTILUS on the right, with LINES below that.  Immediately below are 
ARRIVALS on the left and DEPARTURES on the right.  Below that are train 
times from 10:00 in the morning to 21:43 in the evening.

 - From the first area, you can see, in white on a yellow circle, A on one 
side and B on the other side.

 - In blue writing, with a cityscape in the background, is BODHUM.

 - An orange and blue sign has some very small writing that I can't make 
out, plus EX in blue.

 - Obviously translated using Google or the like: IT WATCHES OUT FOR THE 
PICKPOCKET is on a pink sign. ("Beware of pickpockets" is probably what they 
want to say.)

 - There's a white-on-pink sign similar to the above with KOUKOKU BOSHU at 
the bottom.  This is Japanese for "advertisements wanted", or "your ad 
here"!

 - The vending machines say MILK and SODA on the left side, tilted 90 
degrees.  In the background of that area is MOKU MOKU, a sound effect for 
drinking in big gulps.  On a red button on the right, much smaller, is 
COCOON.

 - A big green map of the park, with black writing, has the numbers 1 to 13, 
with 7 pointing to PARK.  To the right is NAUTILUS MAP.

After the "war" performance in Nautilus Park, :

 - In extremely stylized writing, but with a nice big picture alongside to 
give you a hint, CARBUNCLE.

 - There's a wagon with NAUTILUS SHOP selling Carbuncle plushies.  Everyone 
wants one!

 - There's a message board with a wall of orange text on a black 
background.  It's a bit messy and scrolls by quickly, but it looks like a 
lot of badly-romanized Japanese.  I can make out HITOTOORI KANRYOU 
("finished"), KYOU HA II OTENKI (kyou wa ii otenki, "the weather is good 
today"), and CYOCOBO ("chocobo").

* By the elevators, you'll find: NAUTILIFT (one of the patrons wants to ride 
it) and what looks like AEQUOREA.  You'll see WELCOME TO THE PARK here too.

* In the chocobo area, in multi-colored letters rotating in mid-air: WELCOME 
TO THE PARK.


Chapter 10 / Fifth Ark

When you enter Fifth Ark, you'll get your first chance to see and decipher 
Pulse writing.  These characters are basically the same as those of Cocoon, 
only written in a much more cursive style.  Imagine Cocoon letters written 
very quickly, and by a right-hander (i. e., generally starting strokes on 
the left and pulling to the right), and the relationship will become clear.  
The numerals in particular are a good example.

* On the airship in Upper Aisle, the very first area, you'll see HE PS25 103 
in Cocoon lettering.  Aside from this, everything else in this section is in 
Pulse writing.

There are two kinds of signs: one squarish one with: 5TH ARK on the top, 
another row of small writing, and then a large letter and number at the 
bottom; the other type is long and rectangular and is divided into three 
sections.  Both exist in various colors, and I'll use slashes to separate 
lines (on the big signs) and sections (on the long signs).

- In the Upper Aisle, you should see square signs saying TO AREA 2 / N 06 
near the starting point.  On the path to the other train platform-like area, 
you'll see a "path" sign that says TO / N06 / 02.  Go through here to reach 
an area with another TO AREA 2 / N 06.

- The next areas are the Narthex.  Here you'll find CAUTION on the stairs, 
and 28 on a box.  Head into the Lower Aisle, and at the fork in the road on 
the way out of the platform area, you'll see TO AREA 9 / E 06.  Entering the 
path, you'll see a long purple sign saying TO / E06 / 09.  The next path has 
two signs (one right near where you obtain a Rainbow Anklet) saying PAS / 
E07 / 04.

- The next area is the Top Crossing, which has two exits.  From either of 
them, you'll enter a large cylindrical open space, and a few signs will be 
visible on the walls.  One, in reddish-purple, is very highly visible and 
says CTR AREA A / N 08.  Above this we can see a similar sign with 07, 
leading us to hypothesize that that last number indicates how many levels 
down we are.  On the way out of this area, we've got PAS / S09 / 05 in dark 
blue.

- This leads to the Nave.  Avoid or fight the Berserkers, grab the Rigel for 
Sazh, and spot the S09 above one door and LFT ? / E09 near the elevator.

- The lift will take you down to the Inner Aisle; try to spot signs 
indivating levels 10 and 11 as you descend to LFT ? / E 12.  Leaving the 
platform out of this area, you'll see TO / E12 / 02 on a teal sign, and then 
before exiting this path, you'll see TO / E13 / 11.  In this platform area 
you'll see TO AREA 11 / S 13.  Work your way through a few sign-less 
passageways until you pick up 7 Beast Claws; the next area will be the 
Choir.

- On your way in here, spot TO / E16 / 05 in the passage, and TO AREA 5 / S 
16 on the platform.  The path out of this platform will have a green sign 
saying PAS / S09 / 05.  You'll then fight a boss battle and traverse a few 
more areas without signs.

- The next area of note is the Synthronon.  Between the round hubs of this 
area will be passages marked PAS / S25 / 06 in blue, followed by a large 
open cylindrical area again.  Its entrance says PAS 06 / S 25, and on the 
far walls, levels 24 and 25 should be visible.

- Head downwards into the Presbyterium.  Entering it from the corridor 
should reveal PAS 08 / N 26, and the passages between hubs will say PAS / 
N26 / 08 while the entrances to the hubs will say CTR C / N 26.  The 
elevator downwards will say LFT AREA C / S 26.

- On your way down, spot 26, 27... down to 31.  Exit the lift and look back 
at the sign, and you'll see LFT AREA C / S 32.  The corridor will say PAS / 
N33 / 24.  Fight Bahamut and look for ? AREA C / E 33 above the door.  In 
the following corridor, find PAS / N33 / 25 followed by PAS / S33 / 30 on 
the wall. 

- The next open area is the Sacristi.  Above the door you came in through is 
? 30 / N 33.  Exiting this area is the Apse, which brings the long Fifth Ark 
segment to a close.  Good thing we had these signs to keep us interested!

It looks like the signs are giving the following information: PAS indicates 
a passageway, LFT a lift, and CTR a central point.  The big number at the 
end of the squarish signs, and the middle number on the long signs, shows 
how many levels down we've come; 05 is at the beginning and 33 is at the 
end.

Following this area, Chapter 11 will begin and we'll be in Oerba, where 
you'll see plenty more Pulse writing.


Chapter 11 / Archylte Steppe

* The map of the lower world has an N indicating north.  Since the world map 
rotates depending on which direction you face, use that N to orient 
yourself!


Chapter 11 / Oerba

* There are several signs bearing the number 37 along with arrows pointing 
to certain places.  FRONT, CARGO, SCHOOL, STATION.  A face-down sign on the 
ground shows OERBA in reverse.

* The clock in the schoolroom shows numbers from 1 to 13 -- it must be a 13 
(or 26) hour day on Pulse!


Chapter 11 / Taejin's Tower

* The lifts will use Pulse numerals to indicate how far up you are.  It 
looks like each major level is approximately 100 units apart.


Chapter 12 / Eden

* Returning to Eden means returning to Cocoon writing.  Here, we can see ENN 
(Eden News Network, maybe?) on a blue sign, along with EDEN GP NETWORK.  The 
light towers say 34, and an advertisement says FORVULA.  The familiar yellow 
COCOON BARRICADE / NO TRESPASSING signs from the Gapra Whitewood are here 
too.

* On the highways, we can see EXIT ONLY, 20-50, 600 M, Z, and, in white-on-
green, CTRL ST.  A speed-limit sign says 120 KM.

* In the last area before entering the Senate building, you'll see familiar 
signs for LAGO BLU and the PROFESSIONAL SCHOOL, plus BOOK, NEW MODEL, A 
GREAT PLACE FOR FAMILY LIVING (Snow pointed one of these out to Hope earlier 
in Palumpolum), and ACE / SUPERNATRUAL POWER.

* Entering the Senate building, you'll go through a path full of purple 
numbers running along the walls.  I can't pick out any pattern to these.


Chapter 13 / Orphan's Cradle

* In the final battle, the boss raises a sword that seems to have Latin on 
it; the same words that appear in the song lyrics.  I can pick out TUUM 
MUNDUM DISPERTARIS ("you awaken from your world"), VIATOR ELAMENTABILIS 
("lamentable traveler"?), RAGNAROK, TUUM FATUM SEQUERIS ("you follow your 
fate"), TUUM SANCTUARIUM AFFLIGEAS ("you throw off your sanctuary"), but 
nothing else; it's too fast.


Et cetera / Shop names

In addition to the UNICORN MART that you have access to from the beginning, 
there are many more shops, and they all have logos with Cocoon writing; some 
more exotic than others.  The second shop, obtained in Chapter 2, is "B+W 
OUTFITTERS".  Following that, you'll gain access to UP IN ARMS (Ch. 3), 
CREATURE COMFORTS (Ch. 5), LENORA'S GARAGE (Ch. 4; defeat the Dreadnought), 
MAGICAL MOMENTS (Ch. 5; defeat the Behemoth), PLAUTUS'S WORKSHOP (Ch. 8), 
MOTHER LODE (Ch. 8; defeat the Lwe), MOOGLE WORKS (Ch. 10; defeat Cid 
Raines), EDEN PHARMACEUTICALS (Ch. 12), SANCTUM LABS (Ch. 12), plus two 
optional shops: PSICOM RND DEPOT (finish Mission 07), GILGAMESH INC. (finish 
Mission 46).

---------

Bonus: The Eidolon Alphabet

Now for the more obscure and difficult writing system, that of the Eidolons.  
I've saved this for the end because there are very few chances to see it 
during the course of the game, and what little you can see usually flashes 
by so quickly that you wouldn't be able to read it unless you captured the 
video and then replayed it frame by frame.

What follows was gleaned from the pictures in promotional materials and 
guidebooks such as the FFXIII World Preview (800 yen new), published a week 
before the game's release and containing a few chapters of the "Episode 
Zero: Promise" prologue in printed form, many screenshots of battles and 
locations, close-ups of all the characters, charts of relationships between 
them, and interviews with the creators.  Whets your appetite for the actual 
game.

* The easiest example to spot is the words DRIVING MODE on the black needle 
gauge that appears at the bottom left part of the screen when you summon an 
Esper.  The rest only appear during the summon animations.

* Odin, Lightning's summon, has his name ODIN on his sword, and on his 
shield seems to be the following, in Latin: CUSTOS VERITATIS SUBVERSOR 
[C]ORRUPTIONIS

 - The C is missing from CORRUPTIONIS, but 'orruptionis' doesn't seem to be 
a word, whereas 'corruptio' is, and in the genitive, it's 'corruptionis'.  
The phrase means 'guardian of truth and overthrower of corruption' (or, if 
you prefer Latin-derived English words, perhaps 'custodian of veracity and 
subverter of corruption' ^_^;)

 - Some more writing can be made out on Odin's saddle.  Only the left side 
is visible, but the words ARMA ('weapons'), EQUUS ('horse'), NUNTIUS 
('messenger'), ODIN, and ARTE ('art') can be seen.

* Vanille's summon HECATONCHEIR has his name written on his body in several 
places, as do Hope's ALEXANDER and Snow's SHIVA; the latter uses a somewhat 
more cursive and stylized script.

* Sazh's Brynhildr has BRYNNHILDR - VALKYRJA on the front wheel.

I can't find any writing on any of the other summons.

----------

That's all I can find so far, "so far" being one playthrough of the Japanese 
original, with about 45-50 of the missions complete.  As more are confirmed, 
I'll update this guide.  Hope you enjoyed it!


--EOF--