Hello! This is the new grand and epic worldbuilding feature for you people out there! This is a type of journal we will try to make from now on: we will interview group members and talk about their worlds, and maybe -if we get the chance- we could try to this with popular worldbuilders as well! We hope that you guys will enjoy this and be something to look forward to each time. We would also be happy if people suggested people we could make a journal about! This first time we thought we would start with the Founder of this group: WorldBuildersInc
Heya guys! This whole monthly feature journal thing was mostly SOFASTRANGLER
’s idea, and I think it’s
So let's try this out, eh?Title of your world project(s):
Well, I have a number of world projects, both ongoing and discontinued/scrapped. My "main" one is the Arcverse, but I also have the Erenverse, Solace (formerly called SolExpanse), Rana, and the mysterious Monuments and Our World projects.Link to where to find world stuff:
Check out my gallery
! I've got several folders dedicated to the Arcverse
, and Monuments
, as well as a Miscellaneous
folder where traces of other small projects can be found. You can also find things on my Instagram
. I'm also working on setting up a Wiki for the Arcverse
, which should have a decent load of basic info by the time this journal is published. Tell about the world(s) (Just a general idea):
Oh, well, uh.... this might take a little while.
Well, I should start with the Arcverse considering it's my most well-developed project to date. The Arcverse is a fictional version of our own universe heavily based in scientific fact and plausible speculation. The Arcverse's canonical history stretches from the Big Bang that began the universe to the final extra-universal migration of all sophonts (intelligent lifeforms) in the known universe; over half a trillion years of time. The universe unfolds through a planned series of 15 books
called the Singularity Cycle, which runs through that half trillion years and involves everyone/everything that inhabits that time frame. It's quite an expansive project, and it would take gigabytes of text to explain it all.
In summary: the Singularity Cycle tells the story of the whole universe from its very beginning. The series charts the entire history of sophonts in the cosmos, focusing on the four major species across the ages: the Firsts, the Aeons, the Aehr, and finally the Humans.
The Erenverse and Solace are intertwined through their main plot line, but for simplicity's sake I'll talk about them separately.
The Erenverse, named for a continent on alternate Earth, is an alternate universe where magic is a force of nature with its own physical laws and speculative-evolutionary versions of mythical creatures run wild. Elves leap gracefully through the trees, dwarves carve cities out of mountains, goblins tread across the sky in airships, and dragons dart through the clouds bearing mystically powerful riders. This universe also has a far-reaching history, spanning from the mists of prehistory to the distant future where humankind and their fellow sophonts have transcended the limits of time and space. In fact, space-time travel is an essential factor in the story arc.
Solace (formerly known as SolExpanse) is another alternate universe where humanity abandoned their homeworld in the early 21st century and spread out amongst the stars. It's less rigorously scientific than the Arcverse, with the original underlying concept being more space fantasy than science fiction. It has evolved since the days when the setting was simply a single system, becoming progressively more expansive to encompass most of the Milky Way galaxy and nearly ten thousand years of canonical history.
Rana is a world project I've had since I first joined DA. It's been on hiatus for a while, with ideas popping up occasionally and many redesigns underway but it is not a high priority at the moment. Unlike most of my other projects, it does not have a solid underlying plot; rather, Rana is a world created purely as an exploration of extraterrestrial ecology. Rana is an Earthlike world orbiting a sunlike star many lightyears from the Sol system. Recently discovered by humans, the first mission was caught off guard by a rather unexpected astronaut of the inhuman variety. After communications barriers were surmounted, the native skae began to teach us about their vibrant world. Though Rana is similar to Earth, it is also very different. From the fractal basalt plains -a biome that does not exist on our planet- to the multiple phylums of megafauna (compared to the lonely Chordates on Earth), Rana is truly an alien world.
The Monuments project is a more mysterious project about what happens to society when an alien spacecraft appears in orbit and the markings on this craft match up with images from ancient structures. Nebulous by design, Monuments is less developed than my other projects. Check out the folder to find out more.
Our World is even more mysterious than Monuments, and for a good reason. More, however, I cannot say...Tell more about the "form", how it looks/feels, the purpose, and so on:
The science-based Arcverse is designed to revolve around the concept of sapience and the myriad forms a sophont race could evolve. The core of the project is to explore just how far advanced a society can get, what technologies would develop and when, and how the race would evolve around their technology. From this crux and its scientific base I've built an expansive universe where a great many different concepts have been explored, from the evolution of tool-using sophonts in the atmosphere of a gas giant to the psychology of aliens to a number of different approaches to Faster-Than-Light travel. Another key concept of the Arcverse is to develop truly universal evaluation standards, from units of measurement to interstellar cartography to the definition of life itself. It was originally just a comedy, but it has evolved into so much more and I'm inexpressibly proud of just how far it has come. The Arcverse is designed to awe readers/observers, and to inspire in them wonder at the immensity and vast possibility of our own universe.
The Erenverse is my
interpretation of a fantasy world. It's intended to appear like a classical Tolkeinesque fantasy realm from afar but in fact it is a new spin on that idea. It uniquely explains many classical fantasy tropes and entirely busts others with new elements that coalesce smoothly into the grand design. What has developed from this base is a novel, "realistic" way of exploring how culture would develop in a fantasy world, what technology would arise, what paths they would take, etc; as well as an in-depth effort to seek novel and plausible evolutionary justifications for a slew of mythical creatures. The project is intended to give one a sense that the world is simultaneously open and diverse while retaining the feeling of coherent closeness one gets from traditional fantasy worlds. It's a world with defined borders, but so much awe can be found within those borders that the limits don't seem like limits at all.
Solace is just the opposite of the Erenverse: this project is meant to evoke a sense of infinite possibility and awesome endlessness. From the myriad of improbable locations to the concept of travel across space itself, everything in Solace is made with a core feeling of awesome vastness and majesty of scale. Yet I also want to induce a sense of familiarity, so the readers/observers aren't merely afraid of the infinite but have a fascinated, comfortable respect for it.
The intention of Rana was pure xenobiological speculation. Even now when I am reminded of the project, the thought evokes flashes of bright color and lush alien biomes, and a wondrous fascination with the possibilities of life and nature. I want to convey this sense in a tangible way, and thus I have Rana.
Both Monuments and Our World are, as I said, nebulous by design. There are only a few drawings of the Monuments available, for the sole purpose of helping the reader better visualize what these great structures look like. I have made a few artworks for Our World, but I don't ever plan on releasing them because that would spoil the intended mystery of the story. With these projects I mess with perception, playing out the storylines with minimal detail in order to leave a lot of mystery for the readers to untangle by themselves. The conclusions you draw about the projects, especially Our World, are entirely your own.Tell a bit more personal stuff about yourself, maybe when you started worldbuilding, drawing etc.:
Ahh. Well, I sort of always have been a worldbuilder. I remember when I was a little kid playing in the backyard or in the park I'd imagine these little microcosms of moss and rocks and streams as full-size worlds with people and secret caves and fantastical giant salamander beasts and things. At recess my favorite thing to do was pretend I was some great hero going on daring quests in strange and amazing lands, dashing through the woods to the sacred willow or straddling the playground to shoot down enemy spaceships. I suppose the first trace of a proper, cohesive original world was in fifth grade when I imagined a universe that blended a lot of my favorite science fictions (Star Wars
, Spaceman Spiff
of Calvin and Hobbes
, the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
, etc). I created Zak as my persona in this space fantasy world and zoomed around the schoolyard with my friend Quinn exploring new worlds and traveling between the stars. That right there was the opening of a door to the realm of worldbuilding, and once I discovered the name of the practice it's become an integral part of my identity.
I'm not just Douglas Marshall, I am WorldBuildersInc.
Worldbuilding is who I am.Tell about your three main inspirations for your world(s) or just art in general:
Well, I will always give a great deal of credit to Abiogenisis
for truly kickstarting my worldbuilding. I encountered his art one day and I was in utter awe. The sheer level of detail, both in the art itself and in the world it framed, is extraordinary. From his works I discovered the term "worldbuilding", and his art made me decide to join DeviantArt. Alex Ries is the reason I am here typing this today, and for that he has my permanent respect.
Another major source of creative inspiration is the one and only C. M. "Memo" Kosemen, aka nemo-ramjet
. From the moment I first encountered his Snaiad project I knew that this man was truly creatively gifted, and as I've gotten to know him better I've discovered that he is also a wonderful person. If I could describe Memo in one word, that word would be childish. And I don't mean that in a bad way; quite the contrary! His silly and clever sense of humor; his kindness; his expressions, gestures, and mannerisms; the cheesy sound effects he makes to illustrate a point; and the enthusiasm, passion, and pure wonder that resonates in his voice all come together to make this engaging, wonderful human being who is just like a kid who never really grew up inside. Memo is the kind of person I hope to be.
Many of you know I'm a writer as well as a visual artist, and while I do have many writing inspirations, there is one person who really, really, really sticks out for me. Douglas Adams is the man who truly inspired me to write. My dad used to read a few chapters of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
to my brother and I before bed each night , and I fell in love with Adams' uniquely wacky and descriptive style of writing. Every sentence was a kneeslapper, every page a total gutbuster, and each book in the series got more and more riotously ludicrous. To this day, H2G2 is without a doubt my favorite book/series of all time, with Adams' own Dirk Gently
duology following closely behind.Helpful tips for fellow worldbuilders:
My first tip would definitely be to figure out what kind of worldbuilder you are. In my experience, there are two basic kinds of worldbuilder: one who builds the world around the story (character focused) and one who builds the story around the world (setting focused). I personally am setting-focused; I'm not very good at creating memorable and dynamic characters and I pay much more attention to the setting and detail minutia of fictional worlds. I build worlds for worldbuilding's sake, if you will. Figuring this out will allow you to streamline your processes and tailor them to your own whims, because the two types of worldbuilders go about their projects very differently.
Another critical thing is to set some boundaries for your world. They can change as you work more on the concepts, of course, but it's very important to decide on limits as to what can and can't happen in your world. The laws of physics are a great place to start, and if you have magic it's important to regulate what magic can do so that you don't end up with a world full of reality-molding gods (unless, of course, that is your intention).
Following that, naturally, is something even MORE critical: for any concept you add to your world, be sure to fully evaluate all
the ways it could possibly
be used. Our own civilization, upon discovering any new resource or principle of nature, has invariably exploited or attempted to exploit the new discovery to its fullest potential. This is essentially the same with evolution: anything that is most beneficial to survival at the least cost will inevitably become the norm for the lifeform which possesses it over generations of competition for survival. A fantastic example of this core principle is the notion of telekinesis: if intelligent beings somehow possessed telekinetic abilities, they would first make the fullest use of the ability (e.g. they would not need vehicles to transport cargo or themselves), and over time evolution would eliminate resource-consuming redundancies (they would lose their limbs unless those limbs somehow played a critical role in telekinesis). Evaluate the full impact of anything you want to add to your world, and consider whether it's worth the change or not.
And lastly, be willing to change. If some aspect of your world rubs against other parts so much that it's impossible to simply avoid addressing, weigh the conflicting parts and decide on how to modify them to fit properly. In the end, it is your project and it will be yours no matter what you add, remove, or change.
Following these tips will help you refine your worldbuilding prowess and make your worlds much more believable.
So that was our first journal of this kind, and we hope you enjoyed it! You all are more than welcome to make suggestions as to who we can interview in the next editions of these journals and what we can do to improve the group and the journal series. Thanks!