I was just musing on Spelljammer with a folks in my gaming group. It gives me the idea that we could make the "world" a kind of interdiemensional network of connected worlds. No need for everything to connect geographicaly if we agree to use some kind of portal to jump to other worlds. The idea of Crystal Spheres and Spelljamming not required.
This would allow for wide variation in styles and map content as well as keep everything usable as one large setting.
I just had a look at CeBeGia on the CBG forums, it looks like it's still in the discussion stage. And this is one of the problems (IMO) of worldbuilding by committee - the pace of actually doing anything is very slow because there are so many views to consider. If this is to just be a mapping project, then we could just start mapping (after being given a very rough overview map to work with drawn by one person (cough..Torq..cough) and some other sundry details. I think the act of mapping the world will start to give it a character of its own, as people will be able to feed off the information from other people's maps.
I agree with the Fractal Terrains idea. Or some other worldmap generator that could provide basic geographical, heightfield and climate info, around which we can build. Glennzilla, the Spelljammer paradigm might be a little too fragmented. It might have the effect of creating 100 different mapping projects with little or no need for collaberation, instead of one common mapping project.
Other than a basic world map (which I'm not really qualified to do Ravs), what else would be necessary to start? Maybe a general consensus as to type of world, genre, brief history, broad cultural grouping, what else?
I was thinking basic D&Desque fantasy as the genre most of us draw maps of. Apart from that do we need anything else? It would be quite good fun just to throw the project out there and see what people make of it. As people map their own bits, presumably they will see what others have done and try to interlock their maps with what is already there while adding their own stuff. If it doesn't work we can learn lessons for the next time, I guess. I'm just curious to see how the project would coalesce if everyone had a free hand and mapped with half an eye on the WIP of other people.
Torq, if you don't have FT, I'm quite happy to generate a map with it and draw some random borders on it so people have can 'claim' a territory and make a start. If there's a reasonable amount of interest we could ask Arcana to open a subforum for the project.
I think the important thing is to just do it and learn as we go along rather than trying to anticipate problems in advance (I know, I know, we're both lawyers, and this approach is anathema to how we're trained to think!).
If people all map different and separate regions then theres no incentive to be in any particular region. For me the interest is in having an area mapped more fully than we could do so alone. Gamerprinter said that he would be reluctant to engage in vanilla worlds (areas). Whats required is to get one area up to the point where you can set a campaign in that place and have the incentive to map extra stuff for it, push back the borders, add characters and get story into it. Once your story is driving the mapping then its a breeze.
Its like populating a wilderness with people, you cant put down twenty individuals sparsely across the land. They will all die. You need a village and when its large enough a few of them venture out and start a new area. You gotta feel like your progressing and making something worthwhile. As soon as it feels like a chore or is so gargantuan that its scary is when people will desert the cause.
Maybe we should aim to make a single adventure. Then a single village / town then the area around that town with more adventures. Enough to sustain a few adventures and grow it out. The point here is that many people can come in and get a great deal out of it with little effort. Thats the kind of traction that would be needed to get people enthused to start or stay there.
Well that just sounds like a question of scale in that we just start with a smaller scale and work our way outwards. But what I'm not sure about is whether you're saying that we need to have a full brief for the adventures that take place in the area before we actually start mapping? I guess I was thinking more in terms of a 'vanilla' world (if I understand the meaning aright) in that each person maps and world-builds his particular bit and then people make adventures out of that, so the emphasis is that it is a mapping project and not one which requires adventure writing.
First time chiming in on this thread.
It almost sounds like what is needed is a "graphical wiki" where larger area maps are hot-linkable to more detailed maps, and so on... Or even like those map books of street maps where the NSEW pages "point" to the next map in that direction... Just being able to geolocate every map, providing the lat/long of each corner as well as the projection would go a long way to make this workable.
I'm not sure...I do feel like I'm in danger of hijacking Torq's idea into a different direction than was intended, so I'll remain quiet for a bit!
All I do know is that the my experience about multi-user projects like these is that people spend all their creative energy talking about the parameters and the technology etc and the danger is that it just gets bogged down in that and never actually gets started!
No worries about hijacking Ravs. I think the idea was for this thread to be somewhat free-form. I think Redrobes has a legitimate concern, about spreading things to widely at the outset. In the beginning there will only be a few starters and thats to be expected, so we dont really want 5 people each choosing a region half a planet away from each other.
I suggest, knock up an FT world map with some borders Ravs. Then we can all have a look at it and use this thread to agree on a starting region, that we will all begin with. All that is needed then is a basic layout (which I'm happy to do) of that region and we can all select smaller areas that take our fancy and go for it. Only once these are done will the more zoomed in projects become available. Obviously as we go the idea will be for the debate to be ongoing about themes, common naming conventions etc. I agree that we could get endlessly bogged down in parameter details and this could easily choke the project, so I vote we just go for it.
Sure this approach will produce some vanilla, but it will also bring out the tastes of many other flavours, including some none of us have tasted before.
Torq - Great idea. I've been reading this thread with keen interest. I have a some thoughts:
- In your very first post, you suggested starting at the world/continent level and then slowly zooming in. Very recently, the discussion turned to starting with a smaller scale and then slowly expanding. I recommend starting at a small region scale--perhaps a map that is 100x100 miles. On it, include a full range of geography (coast, river, forest, hill, mountain, etc. - but don't name them) as well as the names of a couple of cities, perhaps several villages, a few strongholds of some type, and then a few other random locations to be mapped. In some way, allow people to volunteer to map whatever area/portion of an area/specific location that they want to. Track that, so people do not duplicate effort. Once a certain level of detail has been established, expand the base map in some direction.
- Everything will be a WIP. What I mean is that once someone has sufficiently finished their map, they present it to the Guild, and we offer recommendations for improvement, suggestions for names, etc. Additionally, the moderators could make ample use of polls to make decisions. So if mapper X called his city "Great City" and the Guild (via a poll) decided that they preferred some other name, the mapper would be bound to change the name to the Guild's preference.
- Polls to make decisions could occur regularly, i.e. if a question comes up that requires a decision, moderator X sets up a poll that will last for 72 hours. There could be multiple polls running at any one time for one or many different maps. Members of the Guild participate in the mapping and polling as they desire.
- The "world" grows organically in that people map what interests them. And if I see something in one of your maps that sparks my imagination, I might start mapping that next area immediately.
- I don't think that much central guidance is required except for setting the physical boundaries of the area to be mapped. The boundaries will be slowly expanded as the place is fleshed out.
- As maps are drawn, there will probably be other Guild members (or members from the sister sites) who choose to write material (whether gaming or merely background) for the various locations. This material will then contribute to the organic growth as ideas spring in people's minds, based upon what they read.
I really think that this type of project would work better in a wiki as RobA suggested. Although not just a graphical wiki, but a full blown wiki. Wikidot.com does free wiki hosting, although I'm not sure of size limits, etc.
I'll stop there, but I'll offer some more thoughts in the coming days.