Makaska

Work has been quite rough, lately. So I haven’t done much of anything geofictional.

However, isleño recently took AR120 “live” in OGF. AR120 is meant to be a kind of OGF version of the US. And I had long planned to make a state in this country. I gave up the vast majority of my territory in Mahhal (returning it to the unused country pool as AN160e) and exchanged it for a smallish “Great Lakes” state. This state will be Makaska.

Makaska is roughly modeled on Minnesota, and other upper midwest locations (Wisconsin, Michigan, Dakotas). It has a large, isthmic metropolis, called Ohunkagan – this is real-world Dakota language, which I studied once, long ago. Many of the place-names in Makaska will be from Dakota, including the actual state’s name.

I have actually done a lot of work on Makaska. But its shape was vague because I wasn’t sure which location I would get in OGF to implement it. So it was kind of schematic, with all these fragments of contour sections, hydrology, counties, etc.

Now I’ve begun the work of adapting these schemata to its actual location. I have more than 10 different JOSM layers, and I go back and forth, adjusting a river, rearranging some towns, etc. I used JOSM’s opendata plugin to upload about 300 placenames directly from a spreadsheet where I’d been working on them. So that’s a start.

Here’s a screenshot of the work-in-progress.

Music to map by: Niloo, “Ola Ola.”

A different sort of worldbuilding

This isn’t exactly geofiction, but I was messing around with a new project on my server.

Way back in the day (I am somewhat old), I used to play MUDs (Multi-User Dungeons). These are text-based computer games of various kinds – no graphics at all. They’re a kind interactive “choose your own adventure” text, you might say. But the game mechanics in them are the ancestors of modern MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft, and there are even conceptual connections to Grand Theft Auto or Minecraft.

MUDs are quite old – they existed on mainframes at businesses and universities before PCs were even a thing, starting in the 1960s. Because of my family’s connection to the local university, I was a rare child of the 1970s who actually played computer games before PCs were invented! These were MUDs and other text-based games.

When I noticed I had my own server up and running, it occured to me that I could build a MUD. Possibly, it’s not even that hard. Sure enough, there is open-source software that will run a MUD on a server for you.

I chose a package called CoffeeMud. I’m still messing with it. It’s very unlikely I’ll ever do anything with it. But I had this domain-name, “Hellbridge.com”, lying around, so I thought, sure, make a MUD.

  _    _        _  _  _            _      _              
 | |  | |      | || || |          (_)    | |             
 | |__| |  ___ | || || |__   _ __  _   __| |  __ _   ___ 
 |  __  | / _ \| || || '_ \ | '__|| | / _` | / _` | / _ \
 | |  | ||  __/| || || |_) || |   | || (_| || (_| ||  __/
 |_|  |_| \___||_||_||_.__/ |_|   |_| \__,_| \__, | \___|
                                              __/ |      
            Hellbridge.com                   |___/       
            Powered by CoffeeMud v5.9

I originally acquired the “Hellbridge.com” domain for a quite different purpose: It was intended to be a “satire-website” for a place where I once worked, which had a name where “Hellbridge” was a similar sound but darker connotation. But looking at it now, I thought it would make a great name for a MUD. So there it is.

I liked the CoffeeMud package because the admin and config of the site is mostly done from within the game. That’s cool. So I create an “Archon” character, who is like God. I walk around the MUD and type “Create chair” and a chair falls from the sky. Likewise with any other object, room, monster, or character class. That’s fun.

The Archon character is created in the empty, default “Fresh Install” room, by reading a book that is placed there. I read the book and I became a God.

Nice book. Note the stats jump in the prompt.

<20Hp 100m 100mv> read book
The manual glows softly, enveloping you in its magical energy.
The book vanishes out of your hands.

<1403Hp 571m 595mv>

It’s not live yet. It may never be. But meanwhile, I thought it was interesting to try it out.

It’s a little bit like geofiction – you’re creating an imaginary world, after all.

Music to MUD by: Maná, “En el muelle de San Blás.”

Mahhal Contours

I’ve been trying to organize my contour work for the new, smaller Mahhal. I’ve scaled the country back to a size where I think I can actually accomplish contours for the whole place in a finite amount of time, using my current methods. Mahhal is now just the northwesternmost 15% of the original archipelago. The remaining islands will eventually serve some other purpose, I suppose. Hopefully, it will be something very low density (Antarctic tundra and glaciers!).

Just like the Ardisphere, I felt the need to divide the contour work into manageable-sized “chunks”. Since the contour conversion program is based on a division of the planet into “degree squares” (which aren’t exactly square except at the equator, but anyway), I decided to do the same as I’d done in that country. However, because of the much higher latitude, and the fact that they’re all islands, I didn’t opt to try to subdivide each degree square into “bands.”

Currently I have four squares that are active. The 84°E Line splits Tárrases, so I have the two squares that straddle that island. And I have the two to the north, which are the northernmost reaches of the archipelago.

Below is a screenshot of the work, in JOSM. Each square is a different file (layer), so JOSM has four files open. Tárrases is complete, of course. The island directly west of the Duchy, Tteu (ዕሓ ጼዐ), is complete (though I might adjust some of it, later). Now the big island northeast, Kkogyra (ዕሓ ቆግራ) is complete too. That is where the capital and largest city of the Jessitim Kingdom, Piropeta, will be.

The matching view on the OGF standard map is here.

Music to map by: Rural Alberta Advantage, “On The Rocks.”

Not so geoficticiany, are we?

I have become rather obsessively immersed in a non-server-related, non-geofiction-related project. Such is my nature. I’m easily distracted by new projects.

As a result, though I still load these new geofictician sites and the OGF sites daily, and even comment occasionally or tweak something here and there, I haven’t really been doing much.

I’ll get back to this soon enough.

I did spend a few hours building Mahhalian contours, the other day, with a mind on fleshing out the new, leaner, smaller, faux Mahhal-for-OGF (because the “real” Mahhal will be a separate planet file on this here server thing, eventually).

Music to map by: 매드 클라운, “콩.”

Some weeks…

And then, some weeks, I don’t get much done.

I started working on trying to customize my Rails Port (the main “copy” of the OpenStreetMap slippy map), and got very bogged down in the fact that the OpenStreetMap Rails Port is highly complex software written in a language and using an architecture unfamiliar to me: the infamous “Ruby on Rails.”

I dislike the way that the actual name “OpenStreetMap” is hard-coded throughout all the little modules. It seems like a poor application design practice, especially for an opensource project. One area where the name proliferates is in all the internationalization files. So I started wondering how hard it might be to get all these internationalization files to be more “generic.” The answer: pretty hard, at least for me.

I’ve wandered off down a digressive passage where I’m learning about software internationalization under the Ruby on Rails paradigm, but I’m undecided how I want to handle this. Do I want to try to solve it the “right way”? Or just kludge it (most likely by deleting all the internationalization files except perhaps English, Spanish, and Korean)?

Meanwhile I have also got pulled away by some non-computer, non-geofiction projects.

So… not much to report, this week – nothing mapped, nothing coded, nothing configured.

Music to map by: Sergei Rachmaninoff, “Piano Concerto No. 2.”