World building
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    Question World building

    I have a question. When making your world do you really have to make an entire floor plan of your world? If yes, then how do you do it?

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    What sort of "world" are we talking about here and for what purpose (game, movie, book)?

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    Well, I'd say if it's your world, you can do whatever you want with it.

    Edit: This sounded more sarcastic than intended. I was being sincere, haha.

    Last edited by littlebones; January 15th, 2012 at 05:21 PM.

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    Are you talking about a personal project for your portfolio? If so, you should be more concerned with what skills of yours wish to showcase. Do you wish to showcase character design? creatures? Environments, etc? Be careful not to get carried away and concern yourself with creating a magnum opus that's too large, vague and unwieldy to ever articulate into finished work. Write up a clear setting and write the various briefs for environments, characters, creatures and props you want to design. Treat it like a job and tackle it in a way that is manageable.

    Concept -> Planning/articulation of goals -> production. If you find yourself jumping back and forth between those steps, your criteria has probably become too vague and idealized to ever realistically satisfy.

    Last edited by N D Hill; January 15th, 2012 at 03:27 PM.
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    I've done my fair share of world building but mostly as a writer, not an artist. Still, I find that N D Hill has a strong point: focus on a clear setting. World building can be huuuuge - how far do you want to go? Do you want to develop the past 3000 years of your world's history and cultural development? Do you want to know about the entire planet or universe or just about an area of a few miles, a single country, a continent? Be very clear on how far you want to extend your focus.

    For me, personally, I was always guided by a story and by its characters: I focused on developing those aspects that would show up in the story or be relevant to it, such as places the characters would travel to or that have a particular cultural relevance and are thus explained in greater detail. Maybe a similar approach would help you too, seeing that it gives you a spatial and temporal limit. (And you can always reference other places/epochs too, if you want to round it out.) Doesn't mean that you have to write a big story but knowing some "real people" from that world is, in my opinion, essential to good world-building because they are the ones who are shaped by the world and whose ancestors have shaped the world. (Unless it's a planet of jungles with only dinosaurs in it.) The people and the world are intricately related!



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    Floor plan is the easy part...wait until you have to paint it!

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    Planning things for a comic in my spare time. Every time, I think in those terms.

    "Ok well if I make this grand setting for this trivial scene sure it could be cool but actually doing it will be a bitch and a half, not to mention keeping every panel consistent and matching".

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    What i mean is that for example the book of James gurney. Does he create a floor Plan for the entire world of dinotopia? like the buildings? or just sections of it?

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    You don't actually have to make up all that much at once. It's really a matter of having a good organization system for whatever details you have established, so that whenever you do make something up later, you have a way of readily ensuring that it is consistent with what you set down previously. I recommend downloading something like KeyNote ( freeware: http://keynote.prv.pl ), or something similar to organize your world bible/encyclopedia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schnidersmuse View Post
    What i mean is that for example the book of James gurney. Does he create a floor Plan for the entire world of dinotopia? like the buildings? or just sections of it?
    Why don't you just ask him? He's got a blog, he reads the comments and he seems pretty good about answering questions.

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    I think you mean a map? Yes, James Gurney makes maps. He also does floor plans for buildings. A floor plan of an entire world on a single paper is unnecessary.

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    There is no one way to 'correctly' go about it but just start. It doesn't matter where or what you start with, but just start. Begin small and build it up and ask yourself questions like "what sort of animal would live in this swamp?" then answer it by researching real world stuff and creating something new. Write notes. Create mythologies. Go as detailed as you want. Stay a vague as you want, but always learn from real world entities. When you learn from real life, and implement touches from what you have learnt in your own designs, it will add realism and believability.

    With James Gurney, he probably had a big interest in dinosaurs growing up. This interest was probably coupled with a number of other visual interests and he probably started with one painting of an idea. Then thought, "what if..." and kept going from there until he got to a point where he had enough pieces to realise a world was forming in front of him.

    This is how I started with my own world building projects. I asked myself a load of 'what ifs' and just drew the result. Over the course of 6 years, I have loads of note books full of ideas, rough maps of towns and lots of animals. Why do I have all these notes? The idea was to create a world to set a bunch of novels in, but I got hooked on the world creating aspect that I doubt I'll do any novels. I just started my second world building project called Oni World.

    Unlike my first (which is still on going and set in a fantasy world with cities, animals and different races, magics and all that), Oni World is purely a character and creature orientated affair. So with my first project, a lot more detail and focus is one how the world looks, how it works and its history and the pieces I create are more 'concept arty.' Oni World is just pieces of weirdo characters that I love to draw.

    So, what you waiting for? Get creating and start posting!

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    Actually, James painted several Dinotopia scenes even before there was a Dinotopia. He sold them as fine art prints. Later he wrote the story and designed the island. Usually, you should start with a high concept of what you want your world for and what type of world it is and go from there.

    For the longest time, Magic:the Gathering had no world building to speak of. It didn't stop it from being a massive hit. So not all products need world building.

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    It totally depends on what you're doing. If you're writing a story in which the structure of the world is going to be crucial to the story (like, say, Dune,) then you'd probably want to do a fair bit of planning in advance, at least enough to make sure you don't have gaps in your story logic.

    On the other hand if the world is more open-ended (like, say, Oz,) then you can easily dive into the story with very little world planning and fill in detail as you go along.

    And it depends how you like to work, of course. Tolkein started out by making up a language and then built a whole world and mythology to back it up, and then spun stories off of that. Conversely, when Terry Pratchett started writing Discworld stories, he insisted he didn't want a map because he wanted to leave his world open to his own and the reader's imagination... But then over time the Discworld kind of built itself and solidified, so now there have been any number of official maps and guides. This happens.

    I know for me, it really depends on the story. With my current webcomic, I did some advance planning to sort out the basic rules and principles governing the world of the comic, but due to the nature of that particular world and story, a vast amount is left open-ended for me to build on in the future. (And there are practical story reasons why that particular world is un-mappable.) With stories of a less fluid and more fixed nature, I'm inclined to do more planning in advance (while leaving room for fine-tuning as I develop the story.) But that's just me. Everyone has their own approach.

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    Floor plan is easy or not, depend on how far and how carefully you design it, as in architecture, done with floor plan and it's pretty much almost there.
    My experience would be reading lots of book at first, they will fuel you with imaginations, after that, try to build it as an architect, design from the largest scale to the smallest one, think about the timeline and general environment and settings at first.

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