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Thread: Māinm, development and stuff

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  1. #1
    Guild Adept Naeddyr's Avatar
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    Wip Māinm, development and stuff

    Hi guys, long time no see.

    EDIT: The forum for some reason make the images in my posts smaller, so right-click and view if you want to read the text.

    This time my project is a world for a game project I'm working on. Some of you may have played King of Dragon's Pass, set in Glorantha (actually, come to think of it I'm pretty sure someone here must be a big enough Runequest fan to have actually bought the game - hiiii, I'm not a roleplayer, I just like KoDP). It's a classic cow economy simulator from 1999, and everyone should play it at once. I'm trying to figure out how to make a clone using Ren'py, a python-based SDK for the writing of visual novel type games. The setting itself will be Finnic in flavour (in contrast with the Celtic flavour of Glorantha Orlanthi), and I'm working on making a world for it.

    It is pretty awesome. Anyhow, the creation myth, based on Finnic mythology; not just the Kalevala, but also bits that Lönnrot changed or edited out, and of course I've changed things around a lot. I'm quoting an old post of mine on another forum:

    In the beginning, there was the Sea before the World, and the Sky before the world, and the Demiurge was riding a blue elk upon the water (if you know Finnic mythology, you’ll probably see where this is going). But an enemy of His shot Him down from the elk, and He fell into the water, wounded.
    He lay in the water for nine hundred and twenty seven years, until He saw a bird of the sky flying and seeking a nest. He raised His knee from the water, and the bird lay its nest on it. But the eggs were too hot, and the Demiurge moved his leg, and they fell into the water, and the pieces of the eggs became various bits of creation. (Maybe I’ll have a bird of the water, who dredges up stuff from the bottom of the Sea, too…)
    The Demiurge formed the Earth from the stuff that was in the eggs, and rose onto land to continue working, and there he met the Sky Smith. The Demiurge tasked the Sky Smith with making a Dome of the Sky for the new world, and the Sky Smith started on it immediately. He forged the World Pillar that lies at the center of the world, and put up the dark night sky on top of it.
    The Trickster was fascinated by his work, and came to the Sky Smith to ask if he could help him with it, and the Sky Smith tasked the Trickster to put up stars in the sky. The Trickster started putting stars in the sky with great enthusiasm, though little skill, but then his interest started to vane, and he didn’t put many stars on one side of the Dome of the Sky.
    Because of this, the Dome was off balance, and started to wobble on the World Pillar, and the sky started to tip over; when the Trickster saw this, he became panicked and fearful, and he quickly asked help from the spirits of the Above, but no one could help him; then he asked help from the spirits of Below, but they could not help him either, for they did not know how. Then he heard a voice at the bottom of the barrel where the stars had been. It was the voice of a star that told him to take it and hang it in the sky in the place where the Trickster had lost its interest. The Trickster threw the star in that place, and the star grew in size until it became the greatest of all stars in the sky, and the Dome stopped tipping over, and disaster was averted.
    When the Sky Smith came and saw what had happened, he was angered, because now he would have to create a haphazard imprompty mechanism to keep the Dome from topping over in the future. He took the Moon, that he had planned to put in the sky to light the nights when the Sun would not be there, and set it rotating around the sky so that the Dome would not wobble, and he took the rest of the stars in the barrel (six all in all), and put them likewise in motion upon the Dome, but in more complex patterns to compensate for the smallest wobble that the Moon could not fix. The Sky Smith also had to adjust the Sun’s orbit in the sky so that it reached North in one part of the year and South in the second. Finally, he attached the Dome fast to the World Pillar with the Pinion Star that was second in brightness only to the moving stars and the Counterweight Star.
    Then the Sky Smith kicked the Trickster in the arse.
    And to this day, the Dome of the Sky is tipped to one side, even as it rotates around the Pinion Star, as the World Mill at the bottom of the Pillar turns; one side of the Dome is under the water level of the Cosmic Ocean, and one side is above it, and from this gap there comes light from the outside chaos that lits up the rim of the world, and creates the the months of day and night at the farthest Northern and Southern reaches.



    The Ship of the Sun moves over the world from the East to the West each day, rising from the sea and descending into it (which creates clouds). From the ship, the Sun God casts out light that falls down to the Earth like rainfall, but it is easier to throw further in alignment with the keel, so the light doesn’t reach as far at the sides. In the Northern Summer, the Ship travels above the North, and in the Northern Winter it is South. Coupled with the gap in the horizon, this means that the farthest north and south (the “poles”) have a day(summer) and night(winter) months long. The sun rises and sets in 12 hours, but the light of the gap remains. Conversely, in the winter, the sun is so far away that the falling light doesn’t reach, and it resembles a bright, moving star.

    In the East, the Sun rises, so the mornings are always warmer than the evenings. In the Eastern summer, in the farthest east (the “East pole”), there is no night, and the mornings are hot and the evenings are warm. In the West (at the West Pole), the sun sets, so the converse is true: it is the evening that is hot, and the morning that is cool. Likewise, in the summer, there is no night; and, as with the East Pole, the “Winter” is cooler, but the day/night cycle is 12 hours/12 hours. At the East and West Pole, in the Autumn the time of no-sun (12 hours) will get darker and darker, until there is true deep night for a few months in the winter. In the spring, the dark of the night will start to become lighter, until you can’t tell the difference between day and night.

    In the center of the world the day is always twelve and twelve hours, and there isn’t much of a change in seasons; it gets a bit hotter twice a year, when the East and West are in their Summer/Winter period, and the Sun moves to its absolute zenith on top of the center.

    If you move north or south from the center, you get seasons a bit more familiar to our own experiences: between the center and the North and South poles, there is a seasonal difference due to the distance of the Sun combined with a lesser effect from the gap in the horizon, which lengthens the day a bit due to some magic I still haven’t fudged into here. Let’s say the combined effect of sun and chaos light is tremendously effective, and that as the Sun moves closer to the horizon when it rises from the depths of the Cosmic Ocean, the light from the gap also becomes stronger, which lengthens the day marginally in areas that aren’t that close to the Rim… Something like that.

    EDIT: Or maybe it takes longer for the sunlight to evaporate, because there’s more of it than usual… Yes, this makes the best sense. :EDIT

    ERRATA:
    Note that Sunlight and the light that comes from the outerworld is different from our light. It’s much heavier, for one, and will have a kindasorta ballistic trajectory. Can’t help it, really, and it’s all in good fun so no harm done.

    Yes, I have mixed up the compass points. I noticed that I have them in the wrong order in my charts (I mean, obviously the sun rises on the LEFT, right, and north is UP, right? So obviously East is left and north is up…), and, eh, I can’t be arsed to change it. Take it as another sign of otherworldliness.

    Naturally, the Moon rotates around the dome of the sky; which means only the dome of the sky, and not beneath the Earth, etc. so unlike our very own Newtonian companion. I’ll have to come up with a good myth for its phases, etc. The planets are likewise attached to the dome; maybe their “orbits” will be completely unpredictable?

    Disclaimer:
    This is just fantasy. It only has to make Common Sense, which is completely different from Actually Making Real Sense. Verissimilitude is the key here, not whether it makes sense in our physical framework, etc. Gravity, for example, will be completely unexplained: I do not know a single ancient myth that attempts to explain its origin. It’s one of those “so obvious in hindsight why haven’t I even thought about why it exists” things that only philosophers at level 12 and above can even think about.

    EDIT:

    further disclaimer the thing represented here is the physical truth: this is not really a globular Earth with a mythical explanation for seasons, no, this is a project for making a flatworld that makes at least some sense while resembling Earth as much as possible with only superficial differences (like, who cares about the orbits of sky objects? and some sort of seasons and stuff to create interesting geography should be enough, etc..)
    I've since deviced a simple Finnish-based codelang (some sound-changes that turns Finnish text into something that doesn't look Finnish: Väinämöinen to Wainmaine, Väinätär to Waindal, Maailma to Māinm, etc. Some other things I've since thought of: tides work because the weight of the moon tips the world to one side, and the oceans rush downwards. If you have a big lake, you can actually measure a tiny "tide" on one side of the lake, and an ebb on the other. It's science. Other things is that ocean currents are created by the maelstrom at the center of the world (through which the World Pillar rises), which sucks in water from the oceans, sends it to the Underworld, where the oceans fall "down" the upside-down world into the ocean on *that* side, where it ends up back into the corporeal ocean. some currents are caused by the Sky Dome's movement through the water, etc.

    And apropos some images:


    The rough shape of the world, ideas for ocean currents (red arrows show warm water going towards cold areas, cold arrows show cold water going towards warm areas, you know the drill), and without an insanely expensive fluid dynamics simulation this is the best we'll get. Haven't figured out winds yet. Apropos to that, navigation on this world is a lot easier: the sky rotates only once a year (not once a day, like ours), so taking bearing and all that stuff is easy. Depending on the time of the year, you can just look up and check out what star is right above you, and voila, you have some kind of coordinates, and even if you don't know what specific time of the year it is, you can at least tell how far you are from the center of the world.

    The "tectonics" of the world are basically just ad hoc, but inspired by the idea that the world was shaped like it was on a potter wheel. mountain-ranges and islands that "circle" the center, if you see what I mean.

    Because the Moon is an actual object up in the sky, and not a small planetoid orbiting another, larger one, with a huge firey ball of incandescent gas lighting both, it actually has a "shadow" smaller than itself: thus, you get a moon that is *really* pointy, and whose new moon is basically a circle. need to come up with a good mythical explanation for that.

    Some mountain ranges are formed by the corpses of dead giants or gods. The game is taking place one one: most specifically, a valley that is formed by the gap between two fingers. I'm hoping to incorporate underground caverns and other stuff like that, but it's still long off.
    Last edited by Naeddyr; 01-11-2011 at 09:10 AM.

  2. #2
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Ascension's Avatar
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    Good to see you posting again. I always like your work very much.
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  3. #3
    Guild Adept Naeddyr's Avatar
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    Thanks, Ascension. Let's see how this goes.



    A preliminary look at mountain ranges (the black sprinkles) and pseudo-climes. I have no idea what to do with the winds. Maybe I'll just put down four mountains, each with its own wind god... The West Wind would sit smack dab in the middle of that desert, and blow everything away because he's cross with the Sun for eating all his cookies or something idno.

    Here's also a size-comparison:



    The land mass of Māinm is roughly the same size as Eurasia and Africa combined (85-90 million square kilometers). The map of Eurafrasia above is in Azimuthal equal area, so that you get a rough idea of areas. The flat world map is of course just.... Flat, because it doesn't need a projection (and is naturally equal area, too).

    The diameter of the world (= Sky Dome, in this context) is eh, 18000 kilometers. Around 36 percent of the area is land, rest is corporeal ocean. Just by total coincidence, if the area of one Earth hemisphere was turned into a circle, that circle would have a diameter of 18000 kilometers.
    Last edited by Naeddyr; 01-10-2011 at 09:52 AM.

  4. #4
    Guild Adept Naeddyr's Avatar
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    Sorry about the double post, here's a small update.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    South is up, east is left, north is down, west is right.

    Here's a bit more elaboration on the climates (and some fixing of the geography that didn't look exactly right for aesthetic reasons). Because Māinm is a stationary flatworld (i.e. it doesn't rotate; the Sky Dome does rotate, but only once a year), there are no coriolis forces. The Sun warms the interior "equator", the central line from the East pole to the West Pole more than the north and south, so winds tend to move towards the equator, or maybe rather a center defined by the Sun's position in the sky and some lag. For simplicity I assume that there's a low pressure band on the equator, which might shift a bit, but is fairly long.

    The Sun's orbit moves during the year, like mentioned: it shifts towards the north, then center, then south, then center again, depending on the tilting of the sky dome (which raises the edge so much that primordial light gets in from the Outside and causes lit summer evenings and nights sans the presence of the Sun). The world is fairly wet, and dryness is caused by south-west mountain ranges that cast a rain-shadow towards the center.

    The big exception, for which I tried to come up with a good rationalisation, is the obligatory Huge Desert. On Māinm it lies on the East coast, where it faces the Sun as it rises. Why is it desert, while the western islands are fairly wet? Here comes to the excuse: it's because the ocean around where the Sun rises is really, really hot, and forms a constant low pressure area with which the east coast desert areas can't compete with: the winds in this area are characterised as seaward winds, and the northerly and southerly winds that would otherwise bring in rain are exhausted by the two conveniently placed mountain ranges. There are occasionally westerlies bringing rain, but usually they fall on the hills and the dry plains on the way. I should add more mountains there, though, I guess.

    Why is the Ocean there really hot? Well, that's a result of the bizarre origin of Māinm ocean currents caused by Maelstrom at the center of the world (not the winds, though because they're usually centerwards, they help in the west while maybe hindering a bit in the east) . Like in my earlier posts, water is pulled towards the center, but there is no obvious route from the East coast towards the center, so the currents have to circle around the continent, which is why the east is generally hotter than the west, which is in turn cooled by the cold currents coming from the south and north.

    I got a bit lucky here in that with a bit of handwaving and tactical rationalisation my original ad-hoc plans seem to have gelled together quite well.
    Last edited by Naeddyr; 01-11-2011 at 09:03 AM.

  5. #5
    Guild Adept Naeddyr's Avatar
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    someone else post in this thread, i'm embarrassing myself with these self-bumps

    Anyhow, here's a small digression to typography, writing and stuff. For the meta-setting of this game/world, I've been devising small flavour points: one of them is the typography associated with them. Typographical variation is a cheap way to create exoticism or otherness, or just give something a particular vibe: like, say, if you made a Britannic style story or game, you might use Uncial or Insular (for Celtic) or Old English typographic styles, with yoghs and dots. For this stuff, I decided to create a small variant of Latin, with which I intend to write names in the codelang deviced for this, and other language snippets other than Meta-English. As a base for the design I raster-edited on glyph samples from a Open Font License font named Sorts Mill Goudy by Barry Schwartz:

    The plan is to take the modifications here, turn it into a separate font to use in the game (alongside standard SM Goudy, though the game SDK I'm using also handles bitmap fonts, which would be simpler), and license it with credits and all that stuff in the Open Font License.

    For those who don't know, /ŋ/ means the velar nasal sound you get at the end of "sing". The n-with-a-hook is a letter for that sound (in IPA, and in the above Latin variant because ŋ is a bitch to invent a new letter for, as you can see). The letter that looks like n-with-a-j and a dot is just an abbreviation/ligature standing for "ja", 'and' in the codelang of the game (which is, as said, based on modern Finnish (ok, I lie, Old Finnish - I presume that most sound-changes that cause irregularity in modern Finnish do not take place) with a set of sound-changes that turns modern Finnish into something that doesn't resemble modern Finnish, because this is a really simple way to create a flavour-language without actually doing any proper conlanging (and which anyone with basic knowledge of Finnic diachronical linguistics and etymology can easily use). I've also played with the thought of doing an English-based codelang. We'll see how that goes. Maybe I'll do something with reversed-English, plus some sound-changes to fudge things.

    Anyhow, today I decided to play around with my ink-pen in lieu of anything productive (I'm suffering from a slight cold), and decided to design a miniscule style to write this in.

    Apologies for the unfocused shot, I can't seem to get any decent pictures with my old camera.
    Still a work on progress, though I'm fairly happy with the look. It's old-fashioned looking, but not in any particular sense of old-fashioned: a mixture of different styles, some original strokes, and all in all it looks quite suitable for use on a fantasy map. I might try to digitise this to use on my map.

    Lastly, a small update with further elaboration on climes and ocean currents.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Community Leader Gidde's Avatar
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    Haven't been commenting but I've been following the progress on this and it's coming along nicely!!

    I know that lonely feeling all too well, lol. Please keep up the good work, I'm very intrigued by the development here and enjoying watching it take shape. I love projects like this.

  7. #7
    Guild Master Facebook Connected jtougas's Avatar
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    WOW thats a LOT of information. Great job pulling that all together and I'm eagerly watching this thread
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    Guild Adept Naeddyr's Avatar
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    Thanks, blokes and blokettes! Yeah, I'm pretty happy about how this is coming together. Don't be afraid to offer suggestion, criticism or ask questions about stuff! Also, if there's anyone who's an expert in flat world fluid dynamics, please. PLEASE.

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    Community Leader Gracious Donor Jaxilon's Avatar
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    Sorry about not posting any feedback. You have a ton of information here that I, at least up to this point, have never really bothered to work out for anything I have done. There are a few around here who get into all the water flows and air currents. I seem to want to just get into the imagery. Maybe one day this will get into my blood. I think it's impressive when people get into this much explanation for why their world is the way it is. So, hats off to ya, keep up the great work.

    I understand how it can kind of get to you when you post and there is nothing but silence out there. You begin to wonder if it just sucks so much that nobody cares to reply. At least that's what I always start to think when the silence stretches on. In this case, it doesn't suck, I just don't feel qualified to add anything.
    “When it’s over and you look in the mirror, did you do the best that you were capable of? If so, the score does not matter. But if you find that you did your best you were capable of, you will find it to your liking.” -John Wooden

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  10. #10
    Guild Adept Naeddyr's Avatar
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    I know what you mean about those guys who do ocean currents and wind patterns. I'm not really one of them, I just play one on tv.

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