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  1. #1
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    My little project and a request of the community!

    Hey guys,

    when Im not painting and drawing I'm working on a software tool that generates dynamic storyworlds. If I would explain the tool in the most simply way, I would say it is like minecraft, but for writers and artists.

    In an example case, you would put in Luke Skywalker, and out come the design briefings for Darth Vader, Leia, Corruscant, Wookies, and millions of other content elements you might find in the Star Wars universe. (As actual formatted PDF files, ready to be send to the right artist/writer!) Besides the briefings, it's also very easy to influence the conflicts in the world, so you can very quickly test what the consequences are if a character makes a certain decision.

    You can read more about the project here: www.worldseeder.com

    Update for clarification: This system does not create stories. You tell the system your rules and your designs ideas. It stores them, and uses that information to create new and unexpected results, or tells you wether or not your own ideas can work within the current world without changing the rules you have set up. It checks your own work with your own rules, it does not force or create anything outside of the data you supplied it with

    Now for the request: I need styleguides and IP bibles used for large IP's. Preferably ones that are used to brief different design teams that work in one IP. I need these so I can validate that the data currently used in the system is the right data. It is very hard to get hold of these documents, and I hope some of you guys might be able to steer me into the right direction!

    Thats it! Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask them!
    Last edited by Duq; August 16th, 2012 at 12:22 PM.
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    This sounds insanely complex if it were to be made into a reality...you have my full support as much as that's worth but I have to wonder

    How on earth can something this vast even be accomplished. A procedurally generation backstory? The variables are just...NUTS

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    Sounds like a lawsuit and copyright violation since the IP is used to generate income for the owners of the properties.

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    Turpentine : It is already working! Right now I just need to test my own design variables against rules and constructs used in real-life world creation.

    The variables are too complex and change depending on designer. So instead of including all the variables from the start, you design the system in such a way that any user can upload and define his own variables and the relations between them.

    dpaint: I'm in no way interested in the specifics, more in the layout, index and what kind of information is regarded important enough to store in a document for co-creating the contents of storyworlds. For example, what is important enough to write down about a character? Age, birthplace, history, features, where is the limit and how far does one go in describing the character, and what about locations, street lights, etc? A lawsuit in this case would be equal to Robert McKee or Joseph Campbell being sued for analyzing existing stories and releasing their books about the subject.

    Besides there are NDA's for things like this. If someone steps forward, I'm sure we can make legal arrangements.
    Last edited by Duq; August 13th, 2012 at 11:53 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duq View Post
    Turpentine : It is already working! Right now I just need to test my own design variables against rules and constructs used in real-life world creation.

    The variables are too complex and change depending on designer. So instead of including all the variables from the start, you design the system in such a way that any user can upload and define his own variables and the relations between them.

    dpaint: I'm in no way interested in the specifics, more in the layout, index and what kind of information is regarded important enough to store in a document for co-creating the contents of storyworlds. For example, what is important enough to write down about a character? Age, birthplace, history, features, where is the limit and how far does one go in describing the character, and what about locations, street lights, etc? A lawsuit in this case would be equal to Robert McKee or Joseph Campbell being sued for analyzing existing stories and releasing their books about the subject.

    Besides there are NDA's for things like this. If someone steps forward, I'm sure we can make legal arrangements.
    You don't understand copyright very well; you can't use an IP in that way in the modern world. Campbell wasn't discussing current IP's and not presenting the information from copyrighted material to outside parties. You can't sign an NDA with someone who signed an NDA while working with an IP owner because those people don't have the rights to share that information. Again, you don't understand copyright laws.

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    I would love to discuss the specifics of my understanding in copyright law with you, but it does not fit the reason of the topic. Feel free to pm me and enlighten me. I'm always open to learning

    I say it again, I do not have to see the specific content. Just an interview with someone who makes these documents or a layout of chapters would help me. It is all about the theory of designing an IP, not using an IP.

    I you could kindly redirect me to a knowledge article, or an open domain document (like Chris Taylors doc for Total Annihilation) I would be very happy. I have just not been able to find them. I know IP owners read this boards, and I just hope I might get lucky.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duq View Post
    Hey guys,

    when Im not painting and drawing I'm working on a software tool that generates dynamic storyworlds. If I would explain the tool in the most simply way, I would say it is like minecraft, but for writers and artists.

    In an example case, you would put in Luke Skywalker, and out come the design briefings for Darth Vader, Leia, Corruscant, Wookies, and millions of other content elements you might find in the Star Wars universe. (As actual formatted PDF files, ready to be send to the right artist/writer!) Besides the briefings, it's also very easy to influence the conflicts in the world, so you can very quickly test what the consequences are if a character makes a certain decision.

    You can read more about the project here: www.worldseeder.com

    Now for the request: I need styleguides and IP bibles used for large IP's. Preferably ones that are used to brief different design teams that work in one IP. I need these so I can validate that the data currently used in the system is the right data. It is very hard to get hold of these documents, and I hope some of you guys might be able to steer me into the right direction!

    Thats it! Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask them!
    Uh. So basically a choose your own adventure story?

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    Its a little more advanced, you can see the adventure stories and the effect they will have centuries from when they happen. An adventure story you play in one game could turn into an historic event for one culture or be banned by other cultures. The worldseeder shows what caused the adventure story to happen, or shows the result. And by manipulating the conflicts in the story, you can see the complete multiverse of possibilities.
    Last edited by Duq; August 13th, 2012 at 04:23 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duq View Post
    Its a little more advanced, you can see the adventure stories and the effect they will have centuries from when they happen. An adventure story you play in one game could turn into an historic event for one culture or be banned by other cultures. The worldseeder shows what caused the adventure story to happen, or shows the result.
    How is that supposed to help storytelling?

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    A very good question! Storytelling is not necessarily one story. Especially in our culture we are used to more stories from one universe, and the really successful stories suggest there is always more behind the world of the story. It is what creates fans

    What the tool does is letting the storyteller know what is behind the mountains, so the storyteller does not just create an audience but an audience that wants to know more. It adds substance, consistence and mystery to all the stories in a world. A very simple example, if Tolkien had this tool he would have only needed a few weeks to design middle-earth instead of years

    And an example from my own experience, we where asked to design a virtual world for a client. I spend 3 days on setting the rules and boundaries of the world. I spend one day tweaking a seed that is used to build the world. I spent 5 minutes to create over 30 areas of wich each had around 10 npc and 6 creature types. And all the generated data made sense, had matching color palettes, shape language, and dramatic relevance to the theme they where representing. It gives storytellers to power to have storyworlds that are dynamic and more alive, instead of creating a lumbering beast that needs to be constantly checked for consistency and gets more complicated when more content is added
    Last edited by Duq; August 13th, 2012 at 05:11 PM.
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    You're evil and you don't even know it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duq View Post
    A very good question! Storytelling is not necessarily one story. Especially in our culture we are used to more stories from one universe, and the really successful stories suggest there is always more behind the world of the story. It is what creates fans

    What the tool does is letting the storyteller know what is behind the mountains, so the storyteller does not just create an audience but an audience that wants to know more. It adds substance, consistence and mystery to all the stories in a world. A very simple example, if Tolkien had this tool he would have only needed a few weeks to design middle-earth instead of years

    And an example from my own experience, we where asked to design a virtual world for a client. I spend 3 days on setting the rules and boundaries of the world. I spend one day tweaking a seed that is used to build the world. I spent 5 minutes to create over 30 areas of wich each had around 10 npc and 6 creature types. And all the generated data made sense, had matching color palettes, shape language, and dramatic relevance to the theme they where representing. It gives storytellers to power to have storyworlds that are dynamic and more alive, instead of creating a lumbering beast that needs to be constantly checked for consistency and gets more complicated when more content is added
    A succesful story is more than a collection of details about the characters and their world. Have you read Joseph Campbell's "Hero With a Thousand Faces", or Robert McKee's "Story"? they both have interesting things to say on the matter.

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    Sounds like dwarf fortress to me.
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  22. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alice Herring View Post
    A succesful story is more than a collection of details about the characters and their world. Have you read Joseph Campbell's "Hero With a Thousand Faces", or Robert McKee's "Story"? they both have interesting things to say on the matter.
    Yes I have, and they are a big foundation of how the system works. McKee's idea that story is a changing value caused through conflict is the engine of the system. The worldseeder is meant as a tool to inspire stories, instead of creating a structure that is just filled in. You can see when a character is getting into problems with his controlling values, you can see what other elements are involved in the conflict that changed the value. You do not know what the story is behind the data, but you have all the data that defines a problem. The story is the result of the storyteller solving the problem.

    You can see it a bit like a concept art pipeline. You start with rough ideas, the AD goes for the one that fits his visions. Then the limitations and boundaries of the idea are set, and then different artists show their vision of what they can do within the boundaries.

    A storyworld is nothing more then a global set of conflicts and themes that touch every character in a world. It is just one dimension of the multi-dimensionalities present in characters. When you are telling multiple stories with multiple people in one storyworld, there needs to be a world design that inspires stories and designs that are consistent with each other, even if the writers or artists can not see each others work. A storyworld and the creation of bibles for them is nothing new. Tolkien did it, Rowling did, Wizards of the Coast does it, and many more major IP's have a document that defines the storyworld. All I did was figure out a way for creating storyworlds in a fast and dynamic way, without the need of filling hunderds of pages before you know if something can work or can't.


    @Atreidis: I prefer curious! But evil can work too

    @Flashback: The inspiration of the project was mainly : Can I combine games like minecraft/dwarf fortress with storytelling and worldbuilding theory?
    Last edited by Duq; August 14th, 2012 at 03:29 AM.
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    But dwarf fortress already has a world-building algorithm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flashback View Post
    But dwarf fortress already has a world-building algorithm.
    It does, the subtle difference is that dwarf fortress has a world-building alghorithm for dwarf fortress worlds.

    In my system the designer dictates a large part of the algorithm using flowcharts. So every designer creates worlds that are unique to how he sees them. All the variables that are constant in dwarf fortress are user defined in the worldseeder, and are changeable on the fly. Then again we shouldn't compare the two too much, dwarf fortress is made to be a game, the worldseeder is made to support me in my work. The difference is a bit abstract, I hope to clear some time soon so I can shoot a movie showing how the entire system works.
    Last edited by Duq; August 14th, 2012 at 02:25 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    You don't understand copyright very well; you can't use an IP in that way in the modern world. Campbell wasn't discussing current IP's and not presenting the information from copyrighted material to outside parties.
    It wouldn't matter if he was. Academic criticism is about as unambiguously fair use as you can get.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duq View Post
    Yes I have, and they are a big foundation of how the system works. McKee's idea that story is a changing value caused through conflict is the engine of the system. The worldseeder is meant as a tool to inspire stories, instead of creating a structure that is just filled in. You can see when a character is getting into problems with his controlling values, you can see what other elements are involved in the conflict that changed the value. You do not know what the story is behind the data, but you have all the data that defines a problem. The story is the result of the storyteller solving the problem.

    You can see it a bit like a concept art pipeline. You start with rough ideas, the AD goes for the one that fits his visions. Then the limitations and boundaries of the idea are set, and then different artists show their vision of what they can do within the boundaries.

    A storyworld is nothing more then a global set of conflicts and themes that touch every character in a world. It is just one dimension of the multi-dimensionalities present in characters. When you are telling multiple stories with multiple people in one storyworld, there needs to be a world design that inspires stories and designs that are consistent with each other, even if the writers or artists can not see each others work. A storyworld and the creation of bibles for them is nothing new. Tolkien did it, Rowling did, Wizards of the Coast does it, and many more major IP's have a document that defines the storyworld. All I did was figure out a way for creating storyworlds in a fast and dynamic way, without the need of filling hunderds of pages before you know if something can work or can't.
    I'm still confused. What exactly is your end goal? To have a legion of fanficcers for this world? Who is providing the data? How can the system predict what a character will do in a given situation, when the character hasn't been designed yet? Or how that character's actions might change because of a secondary event or character? It also likely isn't going to address pacing, which can have a huge impact on storytelling.

    If the user is providing the data, then is your system just an organizational tool?

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    Sounds like an interesting tool. My main career has always revolved heavily around worldbuilding. Through friends and contacts I've managed to collect a few IP bibles and I've written a few as well. In my experience they are each pretty unique or custom depending on the project. Some character oriented projects require extensive bio information (I've even included mother/father names and briefs, childhood background, etc.) while others may need a lot of maps, environments and basic character types.

    So to answer your question specifically, on "what is important enough to write down about a character? Age, birthplace, history, features, where is the limit and how far does one go in describing the character, and what about locations, street lights, etc?"my advice is actually just trust your instincts. The depth and detail of the variables is going to be a bit different with every situation anyway. If it were me I would try to add an early function that lets the user define the depth of the variables. Something like, "OK...heavy on characters so we'll dial bio depth to 8"...or "Heavy on racing action so dial vehicle specs to 9...characters down to 3 (just enought to provide some archetypes)". IDK...something along those lines.

    To get a sense of what and how much data these guys work with you might want to do some fine sifting through interviews and articles with people like Syd Mead, Crash Mccreery, etc. For example Mead was originally hired on Bladerunner by Scott only to do some vehicle "add on" designs, but being Syd he considered the problem thoroughly and placed them in full environments and appropriate scenes...which basically landed him the job of visual designer on one of the most iconic films of all time.

    You may be familiar with Christopher Vogler's book "The Writer's Journey"? If not I would recommend that highly for some further insight. You might also look at "Fantasy Genesis" by Chuck Luckacs...prety fun litle book on generating interesting characters, creatures, vehicles, etc. using standard RPG dice.

    Good luck with the project!
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    It does sound interesting, but a key criticism of a lot of hollywood movies is the stories sound like they were shat out of a computer.

    With characters that are simply devices to keep the plot rolling. do you give two shits about the backstory of a transformer or some special effect in Star Wars Episode 2? I sure dont, because the story sucks.

    "A very simple example, if Tolkien had this tool he would have only needed a few weeks to design middle-earth instead of years"

    write a megaselling book and use the money to fund the project?

    "Now for the request: I need styleguides and IP bibles used for large IP's"

    Im sure games with automatically generated stories are the future, but that slightly creepy, algorithms-that-run-our-lives-aspect aside, it really it sounds like youre phishing for databases that you can then use for profit...
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    I just don't get this. It sounds like "painting by numbers" for writers. If it doesn't make great art, why should it make good literature? If you're talking about games design, perhaps that might be different, but a lot of writers just use, pencil, paper and imagination.

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    I'm still confused. What exactly is your end goal? To have a legion of fanficcers for this world? Who is providing the data? How can the system predict what a character will do in a given situation, when the character hasn't been designed yet? Or how that character's actions might change because of a secondary event or character? It also likely isn't going to address pacing, which can have a huge impact on storytelling.

    If the user is providing the data, then is your system just an organizational tool?
    The system works like this. The designer provides data in the form of questions and answers for an element (a character, city). He sets up a flowchart that connects all these questions and answers so that one answer creates a string of resulting answers and questions. Then the designer sets up relations for these answers, the relations are a bit like this "If this answer is given by this element, then a related element has this answer"

    The next step is to set up a seed. That is something you completly design from the bottom up. Using all the questions, answers and relations that the designer provided to the system it then generates new elements.

    Will it create a large community of fanficcers? I hope so, a successful IP can be measured by the amount of fans that create their own content. But there needs to be quality stories as well as a means to engage and create fans.

    The goal is "Virtual Space" . Googling turns up a lot heavy theory, but it comes down to giving people the feeling that there is more going on then what they are told in a story. In LotR every character knows more of the world then the reader does and ever will, and Tolkien knew more then any of characters. The result of this is that many readers of LotR are completely captivated with the book, and when they are done they still think about all the places that have been mentioned but never seen.



    JeffX99: Thanks for the advice Jeff! I was already getting a feeling that the setup for these documents is strictly personal and very dependable on the kind of world you are working on. At the moment I will just keep using my own structures for my clients, and hope that one day I can get a group of peers together so we can compare best practices.

    Velocity Kendal: That is because most hollywood movies use very standardized structures where they only fill in the beats. This tool has nothing to do with that.

    About the mega bestseller. There is currently a large virtual world in production that use my ideas on storyworld creation. Time will tell if the project will be succesful

    I'm not phising for profit, I wouldn't even post about this tool online then. If I was in it for profit I would have just signed over the project already to one of the offers I had. I have always been very open about the alghoritms and about my data. There is a lack of information online about how IP's are communicated between teams and people, and there is a lack of information on how to create them. I hope to fill up that gap. I know that every IP Bible is different, and that every world within them abides to its own set of rules and structures, I just hope that when I can view bibles of others and can compare them alongside mine I can discover a common red line through them wich could lead to a good theory base for existing and new builders.

    Alesoun: You are correct that it is paint by numbers. Only the artist also supplies the numbers, lines, composition, and the paint.

    When you are worldbuilding with notepads and pencils you write content on the top of your page, then you write everything that relates to it with page numbers on the bottom. The more pages you fill, the larger the index gets on each page. Writers solved this by using wikipedia software to structure their information. However in large projects it still means that after a few months of working all the work in the first few months need to be revisited because of new inspirations and inconsistenties. The worldseeder just takes this a step further, it keeps enforcing the rules the designer has set up on all the new content he creates. It does not provide you with anything, but works is an extension on yourself, it basically just goes "So I see you want to create this, but you have said early that only this can happen, so I'm afraid I can't let you do this unless you change the rules". A crappy designer will still create crappy worlds.
    Last edited by Duq; August 15th, 2012 at 05:03 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velocity Kendall View Post
    It does sound interesting, but a key criticism of a lot of hollywood movies is the stories sound like they were shat out of a computer.

    With characters that are simply devices to keep the plot rolling. do you give two shits about the backstory of a transformer or some special effect in Star Wars Episode 2? I sure dont, because the story sucks.

    "A very simple example, if Tolkien had this tool he would have only needed a few weeks to design middle-earth instead of years"

    write a megaselling book and use the money to fund the project?

    "Now for the request: I need styleguides and IP bibles used for large IP's"

    Im sure games with automatically generated stories are the future, but that slightly creepy, algorithms-that-run-our-lives-aspect aside, it really it sounds like youre phishing for databases that you can then use for profit...
    Completely valid criticism VK. One of the reasons is the book I mentioned, "The Writer's Journey" has been used in a formulaic manner by many, many studios, producers, whatever in Hollywood over the last 20+ years. Vogler has been a huge influence on modern film storytelling.

    Anyway, haven't sifted through Duq's last post yet but someone would have to be a fool to take what the tool generates and use it straight, without any consideration or modification. I could see it being really interesting though, used to generate material one hadn't thought of, used in classroom situations to develop concepts or even used (as it may be intended) to easily generate a wide range of scenarios "on the fly" in applications which might need such.

    Anyway, I look forward to seeing what happens with it.
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    Not sure if I understand all of this but....



    http://writeaboutdragons.com/home/brandon_w2012/


    Has good info for writing and storytelling in general.
    May or not be useful. When you say things like
    "What question should I ask about creating a character?"
    Reminded me of this.

    Writing is not paint by numbers but many many writers use a formulaic approach to start them off.
    Last edited by JFierce; August 15th, 2012 at 04:13 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duq View Post
    The worldseeder is meant as a tool to inspire stories, instead of creating a structure that is just filled in. You can see when a character is getting into problems with his controlling values, you can see what other elements are involved in the conflict that changed the value. You do not know what the story is behind the data, but you have all the data that defines a problem. The story is the result of the storyteller solving the problem.
    Sorry, I'm a bit confused. I know literature is often written around the idea of resolving a conflict, but it's so much more than that. It's not just the main conflict but everything else around it. The build up that makes us care about the protagonist(s) is often at least 50% of the story. I just don't understand why a writer would use your software if it takes away half the fun of writing. It's like you're telling artists "I have this really great program that makes the perfect lineart with values for you, all you have to do is lay flat colours over it and sell it". You said your goal is to give the feeling that more is happening in the world than we can see, but a good writer/developer already does that. Look at all the big sandbox games being released in the last few years. Some of the draw/praise they've been getting is that you can literally watch NPCs go throughout their lives because the world has been built so well.
    Last edited by keeptime; August 15th, 2012 at 05:35 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duq View Post
    The system works like this. The designer provides data in the form of questions and answers for an element (a character, city). He sets up a flowchart that connects all these questions and answers so that one answer creates a string of resulting answers and questions. Then the designer sets up relations for these answers, the relations are a bit like this "If this answer is given by this element, then a related element has this answer"

    The next step is to set up a seed. That is something you completly design from the bottom up. Using all the questions, answers and relations that the designer provided to the system it then generates new elements.

    Will it create a large community of fanficcers? I hope so, a successful IP can be measured by the amount of fans that create their own content. But there needs to be quality stories as well as a means to engage and create fans.

    The goal is "Virtual Space" . Googling turns up a lot heavy theory, but it comes down to giving people the feeling that there is more going on then what they are told in a story. In LotR every character knows more of the world then the reader does and ever will, and Tolkien knew more then any of characters. The result of this is that many readers of LotR are completely captivated with the book, and when they are done they still think about all the places that have been mentioned but never seen.



    JeffX99: Thanks for the advice Jeff! I was already getting a feeling that the setup for these documents is strictly personal and very dependable on the kind of world you are working on. At the moment I will just keep using my own structures for my clients, and hope that one day I can get a group of peers together so we can compare best practices.

    Velocity Kendal: That is because most hollywood movies use very standardized structures where they only fill in the beats. This tool has nothing to do with that.

    About the mega bestseller. There is currently a large virtual world in production that use my ideas on storyworld creation. Time will tell if the project will be succesful

    I'm not phising for profit, I wouldn't even post about this tool online then. If I was in it for profit I would have just signed over the project already to one of the offers I had. I have always been very open about the alghoritms and about my data. There is a lack of information online about how IP's are communicated between teams and people, and there is a lack of information on how to create them. I hope to fill up that gap. I know that every IP Bible is different, and that every world within them abides to its own set of rules and structures, I just hope that when I can view bibles of others and can compare them alongside mine I can discover a common red line through them wich could lead to a good theory base for existing and new builders.

    Alesoun: You are correct that it is paint by numbers. Only the artist also supplies the numbers, lines, composition, and the paint.

    When you are worldbuilding with notepads and pencils you write content on the top of your page, then you write everything that relates to it with page numbers on the bottom. The more pages you fill, the larger the index gets on each page. Writers solved this by using wikipedia software to structure their information. However in large projects it still means that after a few months of working all the work in the first few months need to be revisited because of new inspirations and inconsistenties. The worldseeder just takes this a step further, it keeps enforcing the rules the designer has set up on all the new content he creates. It does not provide you with anything, but works is an extension on yourself, it basically just goes "So I see you want to create this, but you have said early that only this can happen, so I'm afraid I can't let you do this unless you change the rules". A crappy designer will still create crappy worlds.
    Hmm. Ok. Who is your audience for this software? The problem I see is you are relying on something unseen to define the answers to a certain question. While I can definitely see how it would work well in a virtual environment or game, I can't see it being beneficial for an individual author. I think my main contention is that you stated very early on that the world created fans; while yes, a good world can be engaging, but it doesn't matter if the characters driving the story are awful, or never do anything. There is also such a thing as TOO MUCH information in stories that can slow down the pacing.

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    Sorry, I'm a bit confused. I know literature is often written around the idea of resolving a conflict, but it's so much more than that. It's not just the main conflict but everything else around it. The build up that makes us care about the protagonist(s) is often at least 50% of the story. I just don't understand why a writer would use your software if it takes away half the fun of writing. It's like you're telling artists "I have this really great program that makes the perfect lineart with values for you, all you have to do is lay flat colours over it and sell it". You said your goal is to give the feeling that more is happening in the world than we can see, but a good writer/developer already does that. Look at all the big sandbox games being released in the last few years. Some of the draw/praise they've been getting is that you can literally watch NPCs go throughout their lives because the world has been built so well.
    Here is the thing, it does not create the story. It creates the space for stories to happen in. If you would compare it to a painting, its the same as picking out the tools and colors, wich impose rules and limitations for the rest of your work. In this tool you can pick the rules and limitation that your work has to abide by. And you can figure out very quickly if your world ideas can work for the project you have in mind. For example, if you have are working with a project and you are doubting wether or not there should be teen pregnancies in your world, you can very quickly find out what it would mean for your stories if teen pregnancies can happen, or can't.

    The big sandbox games are good at the illusion that something is happening, it is still a puppet theatre. What you see happening and what the NPC's are doing is a result of hundereds of hours of documenting, writing, rewriting new documents, etc . The Worldseeder takes the repetive nature out of this work, and allows you to tweak and play with your world and immediately shows what kind of results certain rules and limitations you set on your world have. Wich ultimately leads to stories.

    I have said it before, but I bet its becoming so much to read by now The designer of the world provides the rules, the system constantly holds up a mirror about the rules the designer has set up. Its a very stubborn annoying fanboy that knows better what you have created, then you do yourself.


    Hmm. Ok. Who is your audience for this software? The problem I see is you are relying on something unseen to define the answers to a certain question. While I can definitely see how it would work well in a virtual environment or game, I can't see it being beneficial for an individual author. I think my main contention is that you stated very early on that the world created fans; while yes, a good world can be engaging, but it doesn't matter if the characters driving the story are awful, or never do anything. There is also such a thing as TOO MUCH information in stories that can slow down the pacing.
    The perfect user is not the individual author, or a studio that creates one game in a setting. Its made for people who work in IP's and work with several writers and creative teams at any moment to provide a constant flow of new content and stories.

    I think understanding the audience for the tool is easier, if you know what circumstances brought forth the idea.

    The reason I started working on this is because of a project I worked on for a big movie publisher. We needed to design the game, and it needed to be released at the same date as the movie. However we where not allowed to read a script, premisse or anything related about the movie. All we knew was what IP it was. At the same time, 3 other studios where also working on games for the IP, and none of us knew what the others where doing. So what we ended up doing was analyzing the world behind the IP, and zooming in on its base values. We took a part of the world, that people could believe to have existed just outside the sets of the movies, and we developed characters and levels around that idea.

    The resulting document told everything about the IP, but also compromised nothing (very handy for sharing, without of the fear of dataleaks). I used to be a system designer, and I noticed the process we went through was very repeatable and simple. I figured I could find more fun places to discover in the world of an IP, if I had a tool that allowed me to travel through all the possible concepts that existed in that world. And thats when I started working on it.

    It is a bit of a weird product, at work we are mostly hired these days to create these documents. I figured its a new kind of concept development brought about by the connected nature of stories these days. A storyworld is shown in books, movies, webseries, blogs, etc. And a tool like this can very quickly show new leads for possible new content, and can also test new content to see if it flies with the integrity of the IP.
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    if Tolkien had this tool he would have only needed a few weeks to design middle-earth instead of years

    wheres Kev when you need him?

    "For example, if you have are working with a project and you are doubting wether or not there should be teen pregnancies in your world, you can very quickly find out what it would mean for your stories if teen pregnancies can happen, or can't. "

    I don't understand how a database can begin achieve this, either at the macrosecioeconomic level or among individual characters.
    It sounds like you'd need to make a game-space model as complex as the real universe populated with real people, run the simulation and see what happens. And even then theres no guarantee the same thing would happen twice. In fact in a system that complex its pretty much certain it wouldn't. Even the simplest cellular automata demonstrate that, and you're talking about somehow creating a space with thousands or millions of dimensions.

    Maybe IM being a luddite, and maybe Id need to see it create something amazing to believe it. Not just new quests levels to run, or new enemies or whatevre, but a dynamic world that is allowed to evolve, and by necessity be managed.
    Game economies are incredibly fragile, complex things, I just dont get how you could turn a dial to the "teen pregnancies" index to use your example, and see it pan out in an easily predictable and therefore useful way.

    It all sounds very slick and Charlie Stross but I'm dubious, particularly given that you seem to think the key to writing a good story is simply obsessive-compulsively self-consistent trivial detail.

    That thing you said about Tolkien being able to write LOTR in weeks, its just crazy.

    If thats actually all you think there is to creating a story world then I almost agree with the commenter who said you are evil and don't even know it.

    However if you do get it to work, can you do a design button too. So I type in the design brief and the clients instructions, like "make it look like, cool," push [Design It!] and it spits out all my work? That's what my they think I do anyway and it would save me a lot of time.
    Last edited by Velocity Kendall; August 16th, 2012 at 12:14 PM.
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    Uh. Haven't read all the thread but... What's wrong with inventing your own stories? I thought that was kind of the point (and fun part) of being a writer...
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