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Thread: Science board?

  1. #1

    Post Science board?

    I know I've only just got here, but is there actually a board on this forum dedicated to realism in maps and world design? If not, should there be?

    It could offer people a place to ask questions about how to make their worlds realistic, including but not limited to subjects such as: physical geography, meteorology and weather patterns, oceanography, geology, physics, and astronomy... as well as things like economics, social topics, realistic city design, civil engineering, architecture, medieval societies etc etc. And anyone who knows about such things could answer it there and the answers would be available for all to see.

    I think it'd be a useful reference for people, because at the moment it seems that threads on such matters get posted to the General Discussion board and can get lost in there. So would people be interested in this at all?

  2. #2
    Guild Journeyer
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    Most of those things are covered in Regional or general chat, but it might be interesting to see how much other forum sections dedicated to things like that might work.

  3. #3
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Ascension's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
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    You make some valid points and I second them. Most of our "realism" discussion is mostly theory, conjecture and opinion. And while these are certainly important to what we do, in terms of fantasy world-building and map-making, I like to know what the science is behind the opinion. I would rather not just say "It's magic" as a way to explain away faults; although there are times when that could be necessary.

    The main thing I see as a minor problem is where would we stop? How many subforums would we need in the Science forum? I guess that's a problem we'll learn about as we get more and more members with those particular skill sets. Nonetheless, I'm with ya on a forum for the discussion/debate of the science of world-building and map-making.
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  4. #4


    Based on the current volume of discussion, I'm not sure a subboard is really warranted. We might simply make an effort to tag all the threads the same so they can be found easily with the forum search features.
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  5. #5


    I haven't been participating very long here either, but within the last month or so I've already seen several threads dedicated to weather conditions caused by planetary rings, orbits of multiple moons and so forth. I think a board to cover these kinds of issues would be a great idea. - free fantasy maps for commercial or personal use ~ Campaign Cartographer 3 Review

  6. #6
    Administrator Redrobes's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
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    Well we do have a *lot* of maps with incorrect geography which we gloss over much of the time because we generally make fantasy maps here but I personally think that only in very very limited places should fantasy geography be compromised through magic and strange phenomenon.

    I am not sure whether a sub board is the right thing or not. I suspect that it would be a good idea. Still, I reckon we should criticize these areas more and add more tutorials for the geographical side of maps like we do the paint program techniques, color, font and symbol discussions. I see more issues with basically getting any sort of map in a square than getting the maps made to look good.

    I am no geographer but maybe I should show in 3D some obvious things that rivers and stuff cant do in the physical world. Its much easier to see why they dont work in 3D. But even if you dont care about them being physically correct, they just look better for being 'right'. So this kind of thinking spread across other areas like moons, rings, tides, volcanoes, glaciers etc etc would be welcomed by me.

  7. #7
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    A simple set of geographic (and cosmic) "Do's & Don'ts" might be very handy for those just starting out or those of us not necessarily interested in the "science" (so to speak).
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  8. #8
    Software Dev/Rep Guild Sponsor waldronate's Avatar
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    Derived from the fundamental laws of physics (conservation of energy and momentum), we have the Fundamental Law of Hydrogeography: Water flows downhill.
    How we see this on maps:
    -- Water follows the path of steepest descent.
    -- Natural rivers and streams cross contour lines at right angles.
    -- Rivers start as smaller streams that merge together to form larger ones.
    -- River outflow from every area must balance river inflow. Outflow may be through a channel that carries water, evaporation, or sinking into the soil, but it must all balance.
    -- Rivers erode landforms and produce sediment, which they move along towards their outflow.
    -- Rivers can only carry so much sediment. The steeper the river, the more energy it has and the more sediment it can carry. When a river suffers a traumatic loss of energy (such as flowing into a lake or river), it drops some of its sediment load. The formation where a river enters a body of water is called a delta and is how rivers form new land.
    -- Rivers in mountains expend their energy cutting down rather than from side to side.
    -- Rivers do not split unless there's a very good reason like a river delta that keeps having the channel silted in until the channel gets higher than the surrounding land, forcing it to split and move over. River deltas with channels are typically very small compared to the length of the river and are swampy, icky places.
    -- The farther along a river's course you go, the more likely it it to have a flat-bottomed valley because a river can't cut down below the local sea / lake level (that is, simple fluvial erosion doesn't happen underwater) so it expends its energy going side to side instead.
    -- A lake will not have more than one outflow. If there are two outflows, one will eventually capture all of the outflow as it cuts its way down. Or another way: them that has, gets.
    Last edited by waldronate; 01-01-2009 at 02:02 PM.

  9. #9


    I think the point of having a science board (or call it a "realism" board if you like) really is to just keep all that useful stuff in one place. I don't think it'd need further subforums within it though, because posters can tag the threads or put things in the subject line to differentiate say astronomy from city planning. And while it may not look like it's needed now, I suspect that if it's created it'd start filling up pretty quickly - especially if it's about all forms of realism in maps and world building (i.e. social stuff, architecture, engineering etc), not just actual phsyical science.

    Waldronate's post is a good example of the sort of thing that could be in there (and darn useful, I didn't know some of that stuff) - if it had a thread of its own then people can ask questions and discuss it, and it'd be easier to track down than just leaving it on this thread or on another board.

    One idea I had - which may be a little tricky to enforce and decide - is to have people as "designated experts" so that people know that these are the people who actually know about the subjects. So if people really are (for example) professional architects - or even aren't professionals or scientists but who happen to know a lot about astronomy or physics or hydrogeology or anthropology because of prior education and current interest - then everyone else would know that they're the ones to listen to. That could be done self-selectively so long as people are honest about their credentials, or maybe applications for "experthood" could be submitted to someone else who can then grant it. It's an idea anyway.
    Last edited by EDG; 01-01-2009 at 03:11 PM.

  10. #10

    Post I am River Police...

    Well I've been tagged with the River Police badge, which sort of means, I've been designated as one of those "experts" whose job it is to point out when rivers are wrong on a map design. I don't have the necessary science background, but everything Waldronate said above are the details that I look for in a map when "policing" rivers.

    It might be worthy to create Stellar police badges and other areas of geographic expertise to help keep things scientific. Then those individuals go about their normal lurking and posting, with the background job of identifying misrepresented geography and pointing it out.

    That would be my suggestion - both Torstan and Waldronate are likely candidates for Science Badges!

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