a working map of the Allacrost world

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a working map of the Allacrost world

Postby eleazar » Mon Jan 01, 2007 5:37 pm

As rain suggesting, it would be helpful to have a working map of the world of Allacrost as it is invented. I started one. Please link to any additional decisions that add to the geography of this world, so i can add to the map.
As you can see there's not much there now, it wasn't clear that Harrvah's river was a feature noteworthy at this scale.

[img:512:512]http://www.jwbjerk.com/dl/allacrost/Allacrost-Map.jpg[/img]
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Re: a working map of the Allacrost world

Postby Roots » Mon Jan 01, 2007 10:09 pm

eleazar wrote:As rain suggesting, it would be helpful to have a working map of the world of Allacrost as it is invented.



Working is the key word here. I don't want to create a map of the entire world, because then I would lose freedom in my writing since I'd have to be consistent with the map. I have a few things to add after I finish chapter 1 (I worked on it the past two nights). Once I finish chapter 1, I'll post an updated version of this map. :)
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Re: a working map of the Allacrost world

Postby eleazar » Tue Jan 02, 2007 5:27 am

Roots wrote:Working is the key word here.

Exactly.

At this point i'm keeping a layered file on my HD, so feel free to just scribble in the changes/addition, and i can update the map. There are not great advantages to a layered file at this stage, but as things become more complex, it will be a lot easier to make changes.
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Postby Roots » Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:21 am

[img:512:512]http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/roots/mockups/allacrost_map.png[/img]


I made a few changes. :) One thing I keep mixing up in my own writing is the direction of Lambdor. It is east of Harrvah, so catch me if I accidentally say west. As you can see, I tried to make distinctions on the boundaries of the various nations/territories, and also the types of terrain. I added a few new locations that are mentioned in the next revision of chapter 1 that I'm writing.
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Postby eleazar » Fri Jan 05, 2007 7:34 pm

Prevailing winds would be from the east, thus rainfall collects on the east side of the mountains.

What's the blue line?
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Postby prophile » Fri Jan 05, 2007 7:36 pm

Fallus :heh:
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Postby MindFlayer » Fri Jan 05, 2007 7:40 pm

prophile wrote:Fallus :heh:


That's what I thought. Please, change that name. :D
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Postby Roots » Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:25 pm

The blue line is a river that sits on the border between Harrvah and Lambdor.

What's wrong with the name Fallus? Sure I can change it. I thought it kind of sounded too similar to Kalthus anyway. :|
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Postby prophile » Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:28 pm

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Postby eleazar » Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:00 pm

Roots wrote:The blue line is a river that sits on the border between Harrvah and Lambdor.


It's really weird for a river to begin and end, right along the edge of some mountains next to a desert. Why does it just stop? And why would a people unused to the desert settle in Harrvah, instead of along the near-by river?
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Postby Roots » Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:26 pm

Really? I reasoned that the river was formed due to precipitation coming down off the mountains. It just stops because...I dunno. It can keep going further I don't mind. :heh: Maybe changes in elevation cause it to stop. :shrug:


Kalthus is the largest city in Harrvah, and its true that many people settle along the river. But the capital was built in the middle of the country when a sufficient water source (the underground river) was discovered to exist, and the mining/whatever primary resource was easier to obtain out there.


I don't think that absolutely every little detail needs to have a solid theoretical basis for why things are the way they are. I think 99% of the players are not going to be asking these questions as they play the game.... :huh: Sometimes imagination is enough to suffice. After all, this is a fantasy world! :D
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Postby eleazar » Sun Jan 07, 2007 11:14 pm

I updated my map at the top.
I made the river originate on the wet side of the mountains, and flow through the pass, by Kalthus, and out to the desert where it gradually dries up. I believe this fulfills the river's requirements, while also being basically realistic.

Roots wrote:Really? I reasoned that the river was formed due to precipitation coming down off the mountains. It just stops because...I dunno. It can keep going further I don't mind. :heh: Maybe changes in elevation cause it to stop. :shrug:

In short, you aren't especially interested in geography? ;)
If there was enough rain on that side of the mountains to form a significant river, then it wouldn't be a desert.

Roots wrote:Kalthus is the largest city in Harrvah, and its true that many people settle along the river. But the capital was built in the middle of the country when a sufficient water source (the underground river) was discovered to exist, and the mining/whatever primary resource was easier to obtain out there.

I was thinking that Harrvah came first. More fallout from the east/west mix-up i guess.

Roots wrote:I don't think that absolutely every little detail needs to have a solid theoretical basis for why things are the way they are. I think 99% of the players are not going to be asking these questions as they play the game.... :huh: Sometimes imagination is enough to suffice. After all, this is a fantasy world! :D

Um, don't take this the wrong way, but the basic geographical-logic that i'm talking about would be grasped by any moderately-bright teenager with an interest in geography. If you want the sun to rise in the west, or water to flow uphill, or mountains to float on air— i'm fine with that in a fantasy world. —As long as the deviations from reality are purposeful, and not accidents.

I don't have much to gauge what kind of fantasy world Allacrost is supposed to be, except the story as it exists. But i don't get the impression that it's a Wonderland or Oz-like world where conventional reality is cavalierly ignored every few pages.
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Postby Rain » Mon Jan 08, 2007 12:35 am

eleazar wrote:I don't have much to gauge what kind of fantasy world Allacrost is supposed to be, except the story as it exists. But i don't get the impression that it's a Wonderland or Oz-like world where conventional reality is cavalierly ignored every few pages.
Personally I don't think many players are going to care about a few 'loopholes' in absolute practical application, at least in regards to the environments. The storyline should be the most logical piece of the puzzle. The world itself doesn't have to succumb to every whim of reality in order to be engrossing and effective. In fact, it might be less effective to try and make everything completely reality based as this is a fiction world to begin with. Many people play games to escape the confines of reality.
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Postby eleazar » Mon Jan 08, 2007 2:02 am

Rain wrote:
eleazar wrote:I don't have much to gauge what kind of fantasy world Allacrost is supposed to be, except the story as it exists. But i don't get the impression that it's a Wonderland or Oz-like world where conventional reality is cavalierly ignored every few pages.
Personally I don't think many players are going to care about a few 'loopholes' in absolute practical application, at least in regards to the environments. The storyline should be the most logical piece of the puzzle. The world itself doesn't have to succumb to every whim of reality in order to be engrossing and effective. In fact, it might be less effective to try and make everything completely reality based as this is a fiction world to begin with. Many people play games to escape the confines of reality.

Perhaps people play games to escape reality, but do you really think it's rainfall patterns and river formation that people dislike about Real Life?

As i've mentioned elsewhere, i believe good storytelling and fun game-play to be the primary goals. I've supported hundreds of ideas for Wesnoth that helped gameplay, but hurt realism. But i don't see how making rivers flow normally threatens either.

My comments are intended in the spirit of this post. The physical environment is part of a people's culture. I happen to know a bit about geography. Other people may contribute details about music, dress, trade, social customs, etc. It's all background for the story and gameplay— much of which won't be noticed by many players.

But if you've watched any of "the making of" portions of the LoTR DVDs, you'll know they put a lot of work into making background details authentic for that fantasy world. Most of that work isn't consciously noticed, but it helps to give the whole movie depth and believability. A plausible and well developed background will provide some of the same benefits for Allacrost.
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Postby Rain » Mon Jan 08, 2007 2:52 am

Perhaps people play games to escape reality, but do you really think it's rainfall patterns and river formation that people dislike about Real Life?
No, but in the case of inclusion, many will likely not be aware of absolute practical application anyways.

My comments are intended in the spirit of this post. The physical environment is part of a people's culture. I happen to know a bit about geography.
heh I see. I understand. Another reason why its good to have you along. I am not particularly smart on the subject of geography. Another good reason its good to have you aboard. ;)

Other people may contribute details about music, dress, trade, social customs, etc. It's all background for the story and gameplay— much of which won't be noticed by many players.
I see. :) I understand completely what you mean and sympathize with what you are saying. Hyper realism MIGHT definitely be noticed by a select few and be appreciated. However, if these attributes won't be noticed by most players, then wouldn't it be more important for us to focus on parts of the experience they WILL notice?

But if you've watched any of "the making of" portions of the LoTR DVDs, you'll know they put a lot of work into making background details authentic for that fantasy world. Most of that work isn't consciously noticed, but it helps to give the whole movie depth and believability.
No argument there. However, what gives a movie deptht doesn't necessarily have to reside within the realm of believability. I believe what really gives LOTR depth is the character interaction along with the relationships that develop AND the immersion of the visuals that really were the most striking aspects of the Middle Earth world. The term depth encompasses different values to different people.

In the case of what makes the world of Tolkein so appealing, I think what makes a world like Middle Earth so real and so vibrant isn't necessarily the presence of realism, but the complete dedication that Tolkien put forth in making the world SEEM real. There were probably many aspects of the world which were implausible by our standards that we come to know in everyday life but that certainly hasn't made that particular world any less engrossing. We should definitely take heed of the MAIN constructs of reality so that there is an essence of believability and relatibility involved.

A plausible and well developed background will provide some of the same benefits for Allacrost.
That could definitely be true. However again I will re-iterate that while detail of the world is important, the realism of it all probably figures in very little to the experience as it will be seen by the average game player.

Just to make myself clear, I don't believe Allacrost should be a completely non-sensical FAIRY TALE LAND and I do believe that the most obvious logical implementations in environments should be heeded so that it doesn't provide distraction away from other areas of the experience. Whats most important to me at this point is not necessarily making every part of Allacrost consistent with the values of our world bur rather figuring out how we can use topography to enrichen and enliven the experience as much as possible.
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Postby Jetryl » Mon Jan 08, 2007 8:18 am

Idle thought, part 1:
"Proper Realism" is an act of balance. On one hand, utter disregard for realism creates something that people simply cannot identify with; Like in most wire-fu movies, if a person's struggles are too different from anything we've experienced ourselves, or simply make no sense, we cannot empathize with the difficulty of overcoming them.

We empathize with characters in a race because we have raced, ourselves; not seriously, probably just as kids, but we have done it. And more primal things like fighting are powerful because we too, as kids, have felt the staggering rush of emotions that comes of that kind of struggle. But if something gets too detached from our personal experience (cough *anakin*), it doesn't elicit any emotional response.



On the other hand, being utterly realistic is, by definition, not fantasy. And we're not utterly realistic, here - we've made a few alterations to the bestiary of our world, the landscape and cultures are different, and there is the possibility of magic (which, on a side note, we really need to pin down the source of). So ... what's the point of fantasy, anyways?

A point I can see, is to be different in some way that matters. A great metaphor from LotR, regarded the two towers (Minas Tirith, and Minas Morgul; to make a long story short, Minas Morgul used to be a good guy's town, but got turned evil, and the good guys were frightened of the prospect of the same happening to minas tirith.) The (paraphrased) visual metaphor of "two minas morguls, grinning like skulls at each other on each side of the river" has stuck with me for some time.

One of the most disturbing experiences I ever had was when I travelled abroad. I travelled to the other side of the f**ing planet, but for all practical purposes, I had not left home. People may have spoken a different language, eaten slightly different foods, and lived in slightly different housing, but otherwise they were identical to the people at home. I felt cheated; like a promise had been broken to me. I went looking for something different, something wonderful, and all I found was another sick mess of humanity grinning back at me. I wanted to be somewhere where I didn't understand how people thought, where what "really mattered" to people was utterly different than it was at home.

Fantasy means that in the next valley over, there really is something wonderful and truly different. That when you get there, you really aren't in Kansas anymore.


The 800lb gorrila in the room, the question that I haven't answered, is "What does this dictate about what we should do?"
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Postby Jetryl » Mon Jan 08, 2007 8:50 am

Idle thought, part 2:
to be different in some way that matters

What does matter, though? A lot of things, on a lot of different levels.

Sometimes the sight (and sound, and aesthetic sense) of things matters. The simple wonder of seeing something curious, or beautiful, is a point of appeal.
- One aspect, especially of more visual mediums, but even of written stories like LotR, is simply eye candy. It's not the fundamental aspect (sorry Dave), but it's an important one. Things like palantirs are just a cool concept; preposterous, sure, but cool. Things in the real world are fairly tame and predictable - beautiful at times, but familiar. There are a lot of beautiful things that exist only in our imagination, and they can make a story cool.


Sometimes the nature of things is most important - for tolkien's orcs, it was their inherent misery and cruelty that made them what they were; so long as their appearance did not contradict their nature (being beautiful frees you from the disdain and revulsion people heap on the ugly), they could look like anything. Likewise for tolkien's elves; it was that they represented (what are generally assumed to be) humanity's ideals that made them what they were.
- A good story can bring to life, something which has a nature we only philosophize about. It can reveal a lot to ourselves about our own nature as people. At worst, it's merely fascinating to watch, at best, it can border on a religious experience.


Sometimes the impossibility of something is what makes it desirable. Man has always wanted to fly, and it has formed the core of a great deal of good stories (c.f. Icarus and Daedalus). We can get in the air, now, but we still can't fly like peter pan. I think it's safe to assume that practically every human being would like to be able to do that; and has dreamed of being able to do so.
- One of the biggest things that "sold" the allure of The Hobbit was simply that the thought of having a magic power like "turning invisible at will" is cool. That's ridiculous, but it's still cool.



(There are probably a few things I'm leaving out - guys, please do chime in with anything you yourself feel is important).
So, in this post, I mused on "what makes unbridled fantasy appealing?" A question yet to answer is "Why does some fantasy, like Harry Potter, seem so much cheaper and sillier than other fantasy, like LotR?"

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