Cataloguing fantasy worlds - good thing, bad thing, other?

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Ambivalence
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28 Mar 2010, 12:59 pm

I've seen somewhere a quote (I forget whose) to the effect that "world-building is anathema to fantasy", which I took to mean that the process of creating a world in great detail - something done by very many authors, perhaps especially post-Tolkein - is too constraining to allow free, creative fantasy writing.

Anyway, that's as may be. But I'm doing something at the moment which I feel uneasy about, so I was wondering what you might think. I'm going through Walter Moers' excellent Zamonia books (in English translation, my German is far too poor for me to be able to enjoy the originals) systematically "reverse-engineering" the world, and cataloguing everything in it, so that I can mod it in exhaustive detail into a computer game. I already know the books quite well (except for Der Schrecksenmeister / The Alchemaster's Apprentice), so it's not that I'm spoiling my experience of them, but I keep feeling that by doing this I'm doing something wrong. That I'm doing something against the spirit of fantasy literature. :? What do you think? Is it an aspie thing (or just plain geeky :wink: ) to want to pull every world apart to see everything inside? :?


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ValMikeSmith
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28 Mar 2010, 2:03 pm

I am excessively ambitious with similar ideas... It will be a miracle if I finish in my
lifetime...
Built a virtual reality in 1986 which is no longer compatible with anything but
have all the parts for version 2...
Managed to print out a rare map of Hog warts before it went offline...
Have a map and a globe of "my planet" to put into my VR also...

Which may have been the first to have a god-mode level editor...
My VR2 is still incompatible with broadband internet and PCs but
is cheap to make and has a reliable ad-hoc net.
VR1 officially died in 1995 along with everything else killed by win95,
but VR2 has been a vaporware design for 15 years in the form of a
box of equipment (3D goggles, etc).

The first world from my youth has expanded like the big bang and
is too sparse yet too detailed to write as a story, so it must be a
game-like format. When Secondlife came out I considered it a
profane exploitation of VR because it was originally (and may be
but they advertise otherwise) a pay to play system, and required
real money for game money. My VR1 had nodes less than 64K
and yet wired my local friends with computers for free back when
memory was expensive and I had no budget, and I calculated
secondlife was renting out "memory" for ten times what it could
be bought for - in 1986, so I ignored Secondlife. "memory" refers
to whatever the VR world was "made of" in real life, which is probably
computer memory or hard drive space. Alternative to typical VR
equipment, there is another way I would do the VR that fits in a
book or netbook size.

If you did mention other existing software for building worlds in, I'll
look into it. I know of raycaster engines but not currently using anyone
else's.

I always wished I could get the tools used for the MYST series to
add paths and go where the games do not let you go. The ages of
Myst are fully defined since the linking books fly around them, yet
there are places you can't get to.

A friend of mine always wanted to go to Roger Dean's YES world,
inside the cover art of Close to the Edge, Yessongs, Floating Islands,
Tales from topogrphic oceans... if you dont know what I mean try
search youtube for Roger Dean Animated ... a very minimal attempt
by someone other than myself to expand the art into a world.
YES world has inspired much yearning and imagination of everyone
who has seen it on their cover art, to go to that world.
There is a vaporware movie from quite a few years ago which might
just be wishful thinking of the website owner, called Floating Islands.

Some say that parts of AVATAR (Pandora) were stolen from Roger Dean.

edit: re CATALOGUING, my worlds are enumerated from 0 to 257,
with 30 to 35 representing levels of what used to be called consensus
reality on earth. This range has so many point of views that these 6
levels now have decimal points encoding the specificities, although
a few levels beyond "real life" exist in the 10-19 and 90-99 levels for
things like politics, religion, nationality, etc which are only enumerated
and defined and not stored in any VR. Most VR is in the 20-29 levels,
since reality already exists outside the machine.
And basic reality levels are enumerated:
30-United Consensus Reality (like 32, plus the others in 30-35)
30.00 thru 30.99="Hell on earth", like wars and stuff, unhealthy
31=Not very well specified, but definitely between 30.0 and 32.
31.0=Dystopia
32=Stationary World (includes "average reality" for NT and aspie lives)
33=Peace, Gardens, and Music World
34=Charisma World (exciting+"change"+seductive)
35=Paradise (or best possible version of earth, EUTOPIA, not Utopia)
All others do not describe the same space like those do.
I experience these like "TV channels" or "radio stations" of real life.
A mood tuner, I suppose. Another numeric synaesthesia phenomenon.
I am usually not able to immerse in the extremes, and tend to exist in 32
and 33 but only observe 34 occasionally, more or less.

A few worlds either are empty or contain nothing, and there's a difference.
Empty can be filled.
Nothing is full of chaos and white noise and things disappear in it.
Some have different dimensionality or lack time, they can't and don't change.
Consider Mandelbrot Julia. It lacks time and has (a fraction) dimensions.



Last edited by ValMikeSmith on 28 Mar 2010, 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

you_are_what_you_is
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28 Mar 2010, 2:23 pm

Unless it's literally interfering with your life - like, you're not making any time for your education / work / whatever else - then I don't see why you would be concerned about this. There's nothing wrong with indulging your interests.



ValMikeSmith
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28 Mar 2010, 2:56 pm

Ambivalence wrote:
I've seen somewhere a quote (I forget whose) to the effect that "world-building is anathema to fantasy", which I took to mean that the process of creating a world in great detail - something done by very many authors, perhaps especially post-Tolkein - is too constraining to allow free, creative fantasy writing.

Anyway, that's as may be. But I'm doing something at the moment which I feel uneasy about, so I was wondering what you might think. I'm going through Walter Moers' excellent Zamonia books (in English translation, my German is far too poor for me to be able to enjoy the originals) systematically "reverse-engineering" the world, and cataloguing everything in it, so that I can mod it in exhaustive detail into a computer game. I already know the books quite well (except for Der Schrecksenmeister / The Alchemaster's Apprentice), so it's not that I'm spoiling my experience of them, but I keep feeling that by doing this I'm doing something wrong. That I'm doing something against the spirit of fantasy literature. :? What do you think? Is it an aspie thing (or just plain geeky :wink: ) to want to pull every world apart to see everything inside? :?

I think I described similar interests in my previous post above.
I have very old ways of making games.
How would you do it?
New ways seem usually much slower to me.
Like it takes hundreds of people to do.

So slow I have not finished a game since 1995
but in 1980s I made them by myself in less than a day each, and many of them.

RE:concerns:
The positive side of making worlds is sharing them with other people.
They are WONDERFUL but lonely if they exist only in my own imagination.

I suppose the limits of Myst allow for imagination of the other people,
about what more is where you cannot go.
Again, that is probably the magic of Roger Dean's YES art.
Where does the spiral mountain path come from?
What is on the other upside down islands?



Ambivalence
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29 Mar 2010, 3:04 am

ValMikeSmith wrote:
I have very old ways of making games.
How would you do it?
New ways seem usually much slower to me.
Like it takes hundreds of people to do.

So slow I have not finished a game since 1995
but in 1980s I made them by myself in less than a day each, and many of them.


I was never much good at imagining new things for myself, what I've always liked has been watching systems interact over time. I used to program sims of one kind or another, like for a fishtank or a city, and just watch to see what happened as I tweaked different settings (in retrospect my programming was dreadfully inefficient, and I'd do much better today; but I lost interest when I got a Wintel machine, and I never did like C).

Quote:
The positive side of making worlds is sharing them with other people.
They are WONDERFUL but lonely if they exist only in my own imagination.


Yeah. :? I think one of the hardest things for me growing up was realising how sterile and restricted my imagination is without input from other people; it became apparent to me that however complex I could imagine something, I could never populate it with a social dimension. :?

youare wrote:
Unless it's literally interfering with your life - like, you're not making any time for your education / work / whatever else - then I don't see why you would be concerned about this. There's nothing wrong with indulging your interests.


It's the feeling that I'm "missing the point", I suppose, by reducing something which should be insubstantial into solidity. And perhaps by doing it semi-publically I risk spoiling things for others; but yeah, I think I was being too self-referential. It's unlikely that anyone is going to bother looking at what I do unless they've read the books already! :oops: I do spend a lot of time with this sort of thing. I'm trying to discipline myself into finishing what I start, though, which is a real benefit. Too often I get fired with fanatical enthusiasm for something only to crash out of it a few weeks later. :? :) I managed to half-finish the last major thing I tried (some language translation) which was an improvement over my usual. :)


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