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Old 09-26-2013, 03:44 AM   #1
Agemegos
 
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Default Scope and format of world data sheets in SF

I'm working on a procedure to generate world data sheets for my perennial SF setting, FLAT BLACK. I have procedures for the physical description of the world, the population and economic statistics, the spaceport &c. down pat. Before I move on to the characteristics of the government and society I want to make sure that I have everything covered at an appropriate level of detail.

So here's an example world information sheet. Only about half the entries were automatically generated; I'd like advice on the format, scope, and level of detail.

It needs a map.
It needs a gazetteer with brief entries on a dozen cities and other locations.
It needs a unit of currency, titles for the senior government officials.

Apart from that, what does it need?
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Old 09-26-2013, 11:55 AM   #2
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Default Re: Scope and format of world data sheets in SF

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Only about half the entries were automatically generated; I'd like advice on the format, scope, and level of detail.
"Hyperlink blue" is a distracting text color.

You use underlined text for links. I am accustomed to color codes instead.

A lot of the details are more dry and scientific than immediately useful for RPG play. I realize a lot of it is direct parameters from the system generation model, but from a "What does my PC care about?" perspective average planetary density is of low value, especially when surface gravity is right there.
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Old 09-26-2013, 03:03 PM   #3
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Default Re: Scope and format of world data sheets in SF

Some GMs use planetary density as a rough guide to the abundance of interesting minerals.
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Old 09-26-2013, 03:59 PM   #4
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Default Re: Scope and format of world data sheets in SF

What does illumination 101% mean here? Flux per unit area in the visible spectrum + IR + UV frequency band at ground level?
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Old 09-26-2013, 04:08 PM   #5
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Default Re: Scope and format of world data sheets in SF

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What does illumination 101% mean here? Flux per unit area in the visible spectrum + IR + UV frequency band at ground level?
It's meant to be flux per unit area in the visible band at ground level, but in fact I didn't make the correction for scattering, haze, and cloud cover. So it's actually flux per unit area in the visible band at the top of the atmosphere, wearing a false nose.

Would "visual illumination" be sufficiently explicit?
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Old 09-26-2013, 05:53 PM   #6
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Default Re: Scope and format of world data sheets in SF

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It's meant to be flux per unit area in the visible band at ground level, but in fact I didn't make the correction for scattering, haze, and cloud cover. So it's actually flux per unit area in the visible band at the top of the atmosphere, wearing a false nose.

Would "visual illumination" be sufficiently explicit?
Sure, and you could break out the atmospheric and ground albedos where appropriate.

Ah, I think a planet-wide comparison or prevaling conditions could have a better name than "Climate". Terrestriality, or just, "Weather". Also, I believe typical daily variation ranges for seasonal extremes and medians would be more useful than single figures for orbital cardinal points.
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Old 09-26-2013, 10:32 PM   #7
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Default Re: Scope and format of world data sheets in SF

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Originally Posted by Agemegos View Post
It's meant to be flux per unit area in the visible band at ground level, but in fact I didn't make the correction for scattering, haze, and cloud cover. So it's actually flux per unit area in the visible band at the top of the atmosphere, wearing a false nose.

Would "visual illumination" be sufficiently explicit?
A minor tangent, but some years ago, I did a tiny bit of worldbuilding for my space opera setting, and I arrived at the conclusion that for a Human-habitable planet orbiting an F-type star, i.e. radiating much more energy than our Sun and therefore needing the planet to orbit father away, it would create the effect of shadows being more sharply defined, less blurred.

That's a minor but interesting visual effect.

And it might have RPG implications too. For all I know, it might mean that it's easier to use a skill such as Disguise. Or it could beharder. I'm not able, at least right now, to fully visualize the consequences.

Also, of course, the mid day sun is punishing for Humans who don't have very dark skin, so buildings are often made tall, tower-like, not just "because we can" (gravity on that one planet might be a bit less than 1G) but also to provide shelter for the homeless or those who lost track of time and find themselves far from home. Tall buildings do nothing exactly at noon, but of course in the minutes before and after, the shadow they provide is very welcome.

That's just my take on it. A focus on the "what is it like"-aspect of things. What is it like being on this planet? What tells, signals, sensations, does the planet give me, as a visitor? What do I notice? What's unfamiliar? What creates a strong and powerful sense-of-place?

Maybe you can do that with coded tags, inventing convenient shorthand tags for whatever planteary features you deem to be sufficiently relevant?
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Old 09-26-2013, 04:49 PM   #8
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Default Re: Scope and format of world data sheets in SF

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"Hyperlink blue" is a distracting text color.
I want data to be quite distinct from formatting, labels, and keys. Could I use a dark green? Other green?
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Old 09-26-2013, 05:33 PM   #9
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Background (and perhaps an abstract, if possible)
Geology
- Elevation extremes
Population
- Birth/death/immigration/emigration/net growth rates
- age distribution
- urbanization
Economy
- natural resources
- notable products
- imports/exports
Society (maybe Government)
- current issues
Interstellar
- relationships with other worlds (rival, ally, colony of, parent of, etc)
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Old 09-26-2013, 06:39 PM   #10
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I want data to be quite distinct from formatting, labels, and keys. Could I use a dark green? Other green?
Both are fine. It's just the particular shade of blue on question that is a problem.

I'd also avoid "followed link purple."
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