Monday, March 11, 2013

Worldbuilding Prototype Alpha

So. Worldbuilding.

Xi Min and I wanted to attempt on a scale unprecedented. We wanted to bring worldbuilding to Yale-NUS. We thought that, with some of the world’s best and brightest, we could really do something with this idea.

And did we ever. We got eight people (actually more than that, but Google Hangouts only fits ten) and built a world from scratch. We’ve got half a hollowed-out doughnut tumbling through space, with icy areas and tropical areas, and a simulacrum of seasons. We’ve got about ten different civilizations in a huge land grab on our map, with amazing premises like a race of green genetic accidents which can photosynthesize independently; a civilization of dolphin riders who also make excellent cookies; a race of creatures who can see in multiple electromagnetic spectra; and a cat-owl-elephant caste society who have nine lives and get reborn in a blaze of fire, like phoenixes.

What I liked best is that everyone was interested. To varying degrees, of course, but everyone was contributing and tossing ideas about like a lettuce leaf in a salad. It was pure cognitive bliss, for be. The discussion about the shape of the world was best. Nobody had preconceptions, not many had expertise knowledge, but we all came together to hammer out the doughnut-shaped planet that we know of today. It was astounding.

And so we will bravely move forward, not just charting unknown territory, but bringing it into existence as well. Not just pushing the envelope, but cutting its stencil out of a sheet of paper and gluing the flaps down in the right places. We will continue creating, bit by bit, continent by continent; and we don’t rest on the seventh day, either. We will play Sid Meyer’s Civilizations like the game it was meant to be played.

And we will look at it, and say that it was good.
The Edna Man