Designers Log: Modeling Location Data

Published on August 15th, 2023 19:25

I want a human-writable-and-readable way for story-tellers, readers, game players and designers to reference named locations while still acknowledging that location names change depending on who is referencing them and when.

For example, SOL-EA-TI-OH (Sol system, Earth, Turtle Island, Ohlone Territory) or SOL-EA-NA-US-CA-SFBA (North America, United States, Canada, San Francisco Bay Area), serve as a kind of namespace.

I'm not sure if that namespace is useful? Perhaps it's how resources flow from individual activity towards shared usage in a game? Or a playful way to introduce intentional ambiguity in a romance novel? Or to indicate a code-switch?

But I kinda like it?

Writer's Room: Darik Sarin's Apprenticeship (Working Title)

Published on July 30th, 2023 20:56

Open Questions

How do I want to build tension?

The stakes are intended to be personally high, but not socially high. The main source of tension comes from within #DarikSarin, and pay-off is the consequences of navigating those tensions. Some possible places for personal growth:

  • Darik is a bit socially uncomfortable, especially in novel contexts.
  • They feel most comfortable when there is a solid routine,
  • They have a bit of a wanderlust, but don't like short trips.
  • Name-choosing!

How can we leverage and subvert the #HerosJourney?

Part of the low-stakes nature makes it not a hero in the classic sense; so while the steps and structure will likely be heroes-journey-esque, since that's a narrative structure that at the very least seems worth learning how to write not just read.

Eras of Interstellar Civilizations

Published on July 28th, 2023 19:31

TODO: Make acronym? Or all S?_

Some civilizations never enter a strain era; achieving industrialization, electrification, atomization, digitization, and slip while maintaining healthy levels of interdependence.

Strain Eras

During a #StrainEra, access to material needs, such as nutrients and shelter, is inhibited. These conditions often result in aggressive behavior, with in-groups and out-groups defined along arbitrary lines such as ability, appearance, gender, sexuality, spirituality, or species.

Strain Eras are characterized by any involuntary hunger or homelessness and have two main causes:

  • Real Scarcity; due to insufficient production.
  • Artificial Scarcity; where production is sufficient but distribution is insufficient.

In prolonged #StrainedEras, species may experience a #FilterEra.

Filter Eras

#FilterEras are when a civilization is at risk of extinction due to poorly stewarded resources. Some species develop extinction-tier technology without first creating the social conditions to ensure they're never deployed as weapons. Others prioritize the luxury of a few at the expense of the material needs of the many, resulting in unrest. Others ignore their relationship with their home planet's ecosystem, creating circumstances which are hostile to their continued survival. Some fail to reach a level of technological competence sufficient to mitigate natural disasters like asteroid impacts or other world-altering circumstances.

Stable Eras

Presuming the civilization has made it's way through any #FilterEras and #StrainEras, it's said to have reached a #StableEra once it meets the material needs of all people. It can take generations of #StableEras for a species to devote enough of their shared resources to transition to a #SampleEra.

Sample Era

Even after the underlying science behind #SlipTravel are unraveled; the material and energy costs associated are sufficiently large that it requires significant investment for a system to develop their first #SlipHub. Once complete, civilizations enter a #SampleEra.

In a #SampleEra, a civilization explores their surrounding star systems, mapping their place in the universe. Depending on the species' location in the galaxy, there may be thousands or even millions of stars within slip travels hard-limit of 100 light years. Most species will sample most of the star systems within reach before determining it's time to start settling a second home among the stars and entering a #SpreadEra.

Spread Era

Once a civilization begins establishing slip hubs in other star systems, they are in their #SpreadEra.

Contact Eras

A #ContactEra occurs when a civilization comes in contact with another sentient species. Some Contact Eras are between peers capable of slip. Other times, a civilization will find itself in contact with a civilization incapable of slip.

Interaction between Slip-capable and non-slip capable civilizations is precarious. In most cases, the slip-capable civilization will keep their distance to avoid detection by the sub-slip civilization. In some particularly precarious #FilterEras, confirmation of the existence of interstellar civilizations can trigger an extinction level event.

Tales: Darik's Arrival at Sarin

Published on July 28th, 2023 13:50

Sarin's garden, seed of many others

Whistle softly, pastel pulses dance

Shout and arbors wave you quiet.

Apprentices, mycelia of the thousand world-gardens

Come to study systems of gene and machine.

Darik's pack was filled with the essentials for an apprentice's journey: snacks from home, a small tab for notes and entertainment, and a few sentimental non-organic cosmetics. They shook a little when they thought too hard about being selected in the apprenticeship lottery. Sarin was the top world-garden in six jumps for bioengineering apprenticeships, and they had only registered to walk that path a few months ago. Whatever had possessed the algorithm to select a novice gardener whose entire occupational background was a few cycles in early childhood care and education and two in accounting was beyond them.

They closed their pack's clasps, taking some joy in the snap as they clicked securely into place. Taking a deep breath, they slung it onto their back and pushed out of their small cabin. Darik fumbled their way to the docking tendril connecting the tiny slip ship to Sarin's Orbital, stopping briefly to thank Paico, the pilot, for making this journey. The pilot, in zer turn, nodded appreciation and signed their own thanks for the companionship.

I always appreciate having another organic to talk to, ze laughed. Ship is great company, but he has no taste... The ship's lights dimmed and shifted slightly warmer briefly before returning to the pilot's preferred settings for this time of day; what Darik recognized as a polite laugh.

I have heard that joke 308 times; once for each passenger journey we have traveled. Perhaps one day you will study the comedy courses I curated? Ship replied.

Consistency is a virtue! Paico retorted, as Darik suppressed a smile. Good luck by the way! Their flight schedule shows a few slivers between descending passenger flights; so you shouldn't be stuck in space for much longer.

Darik noted a reminder to write them both a thank-you letter once settled and let the smile break through, Thank you! I can't wait to feel the tug of a world beneath my feet again.

Sarin Orbital was, with one exception, like any other key orbital in a highly developed system. A mix of tourists, temporary-resident staff, and a core contingent of lifers who (for no reason Darik could fathom) chose to make their home outside the comfort of a gravity well and magnetosphere. Unlike any orbital Darik had seen before, there were local plants everywhere. Most orbitals catered to the spacers who facilitated interplanetary commerce or plied the slip-lanes, but here was a station

A quick check confirmed that the next down-well trip was two slivers away. Enough time to walk from the slip-ward docks to the well-ward ones, as well as stop for a bite. Darik filtered their tab's map to no-market, vegan restaurants and found one that looked like it carried local, regional and terran fare; so they didn't have to decide how adventurous of an eater they wanted to be before they got a chance to smell it.

As Darik walked up the food stall they'd found, they dropped their privacy preferences from do not disturb (their preferred default) to assistance appreciated. Within about thirty seconds, a tall, thin woman pushed aside the curtain separating the kitchen from the counter. Helllllllooooooo she trilled as she saw Darik. Oh! An off-worlder! And not a tourist! How strange, how strange... Tell me, young one, what brings you to Sarin? Are you working the gardens?

Darik was slightly taken aback by the barrage of questions. Uhh, yes. I... I just arrived. On an apprenticeship.

The woman's eyes lit up. Oh! An apprenticeship! So you'll be taking our garden home with you then? Her eyes took in Darik. A bit young, no?

Darik's nod started, halted, and started again. Yes, ma'am. I mean, no ma'am; I mean, yes I am a bit young but no I'm not stealing your garden! Darik's face flushed.

The woman's face turned serious. Oh! I'm so sorry! I did not mean to imply! We have a saying here: 'Whoever tends our world-garden takes a piece of it home with them.' Her smile flashed back, To care is to love, after all, and we never truly leave behind what we love.

Darik's cheeks cooled slightly, Oh, well; then yes. I hope to learn to care for your garden; and I promise to carry it with me wherever I go.

Well said, young one. I am Saul. Saul matched Darik's courteous tone. How may I be of assistance?

I am Darik. Can you help me find a meal before the downwell next sliver?

I'll do you one better! Saul's eyes sparkled as she swept aside the curtain. That's more than enough time to learn to make arjung. Consider it your first step in your apprenticeship!