Behind the Curtain: Designing Gurutama

One of my friends has an obsession with Skype chat groups. Skype lets you add people into a chat so you get a group chat.

I think most people just use that and then recreate the same group everytime they want to talk with those folks.

My group of friends creates chat groups for specific topics and then revives the chat when we want to use it again.

We’ve got a group for discussing our ongoing D&D campaign, a group for RSVPing to D&D, a group for discussing Hackmaster, another for Crusader Kings 2, another for Overwatch, and one for discussing our ongoing collaborative effort to develop Gurutama as a fun campaign setting.

We’ve been typing in the Gurutama one a lot lately, talking about things like Continue reading

Condensed Gurutama Timeline

The Revised Gurutama Timeline is done! But the problem is that it weighs in at around 35 pages when you load it up in Microsoft Word.

If you’ve ever glanced at the timeline section of a campaign setting, it’s usually contained on just two facing pages.

The full version is still useful for the creators of the setting (myself and a few other members of my gaming group). The full version is still fun for those who are already interested in the setting and want to learn more about Gurutama’s history. But for the casual reader who is just strolling by on the internet? TOO MUCH INFORMATION!

So I’ve whittled it down to contain just the essentials.

The new Condensed Gurutama Timeline is up and running.

My gaming group has also started a Wikia for Gurutama. There isn’t much there yet, but we’re working on filling it up!

First step is, of course, moving the timeline over. The revised version in case you were wondering.

As I move over the revised timeline I’m also inserting links to various pages that don’t exist yet. Once those pages are created and filled it, I won’t need to go back to create links everywhere.

Plus, the Wikia has a cool feature where it tells me what dead links I still have floating around.

If I forget one link in all the pages I’m creating, I don’t need to go back through all the pages and check the links. I can just go to the “Wanted Pages” section of the Wikia and see what I haven’t created a page for yet! Greatest thing ever!

But why switch from working on Gurutama on my blog to using a Wikia in the first place?

Pretty easy answer actually, Gurutama is a community project that my gaming group and I have been working on. If everything is posted on my blog where they don’t have access to edit the work, it can hardly be considered a community project.

With the Wikia, anything they want to create and share they can do so without the need of emailing me a Word doc to upload onto the blog or for everyone to throw into a folder and forget about.

And the Wikia system makes everything much more organized. See a word or phrase that you don’t remember the significance of? Just click on the link and you can learn more about that thing!

I'm even learning how to code using Wikia's source language!
I’m even learning how to code using Wikia’s source language!

In the future I’ll probably be working on Gurutama through the Wikia first. Once a significant Wikia page/group of pages is done, I’ll post something about it on my blog here and add another page to the Gurutama section at the top.

That’s all for now on Gurutama!

-GoCorral

Mars One

I read about this project the other day called Mars One.

The project involves setting up a colony on Mars for four people to live on by 2025.

Getting to the moon is hard enough. It takes like a day and a half of travel, landing is hard, getting off again is hard, and landing safely on Earth is even harder.

NASA and other government space programs have always avoided going to Mars for two reasons.

#1 With our current rockets it would take about two months to get there. Spend a week there and two months back, you need four months of oxygen. It’s not possible to transport that much so you need to recycle your air and that gets complicated. Plus there’s all the extra food, water, and fuel you’d have to bring.

#2 With that two month journey its even harder to get back. We can land drones on Mars, but we can’t bring them back.

Mars One plans to get around the first problem by establishing a minor space colony first, while also working with robots to establish a little base camp on Mars.

The second problem is tackled by… not bringing the humans that are sent there back to Earth.

That’s right, Mars One is a one way trip. That’s where the name came from (I think).

There’s a lot of logistical problems with that. I’ve casually mentioned a few (sustainable food, water, air, fuel). I’m sure there are more.

Another problem is who would want to go on a mission like this? It’s almost certainly going to have problems that could kill you. Even if it doesn’t kill you, you’re stuck on Mars for the rest of your life. Maybe more people will come later, but that’s doubtful.

Well, Mars One asked people to apply for their one way trip to Mars and got thousands of responses. Those responses have been whittled down to one hundred people.

The next step is to whittle that one hundred down to four via, get this, a reality TV show.

This was the point where I stopped taking Mars One seriously.

I looked into it a little more. Mars One is a non-profit. The project is supposedly only for the advancement of space travel. And it will help with that at least through gaining public attention if not by developing equipment for Mars colonies.

There’s also a for-profit company attached to Mars One called the Interplanetary Media Group. That company is the one releasing a bunch of press and making the reality TV show. They’ll probably make a ton of money off of that.

Is that money going to go towards funding the Mars trip? Maybe. Is it going to fund the construction of beach house real estate for the owners of these two companies? Maybe.

And the weirdest thing about all of this? Even though the reality TV show seems like an awful interview process, I’m still interested in watching it.

A previous experiment for this, Mars-500, simulated people going into a spacecraft to Mars for 500 days. Cut off from the outside world the people in the mission pretended to do all of the things necessary for going to Mars to see how they held up mentally when they were forced to be in the same “spacecraft” for a year and a half.

Mars-500 was a success, but possibly only because it was fake. As a psychological study you have to give people the option to opt out at any time. That wouldn’t be the case in a real space flight.

My point is that the training process for Mars One has to be similar to Mars-500 and I’m excited to watch that. Plus I might get to vote people out the airlock or something!

-GoCorral

PS. And here’s what Neil deGrasse Tyson has to say about it.

Gurutama Language Map

Language Map

Last night I made a map representing the relationships between different languages in Gurutama.

Since I am playing on using the Hackmaster rule system for Gurutama I modeled the relations between the languages on how languages work in Hackmaster.

Languages are treated as skills in Hackmaster with proficiencies ranging from 0-100%.

0-25% is when you know a few words in the other language. Most Californians have at least this much understanding of Spanish.

26-50% is when someone knows how to construct sentence frames, but can’t really carry a conversation. Someone who’s still learning the language.

51-75% is when someone knows enough to go on vacation to another country and speak that country’s language, but not enough to have a conversation about philosophy or something. My wife and I probably have this level of proficiency with Spanish.

76-87% is a normal mastery of a language. Hackmaster treats this level as the amount most people have in their native language.

88-100% is when someone knows lots of fancy words in their language. My dad has a PhD in linguistics, so he probably falls into this range.

That should give you a better idea of what the penalties listed in the image above mean.

Lets say that English is Merese on that map up there. My dad with his PhD in English linguistics would have around 20% mastery of a language that English borrows words from, like Swedish. He’d recognize a few cognates between the languages and he might know how to construct sentences, but he can’t really speak Swedish.

I’d guess that I have around 60% proficiency in Spanish. French is a very similar language. Everyone else in my family spoke French occasionally when I was growing up and the little bit of Spanish I know allowed me to understand the gist of the conversation even if I couldn’t participate. French and Spanish would be considered divergent languages in the Hackmaster system (along with Portuguese, Italian, Romanian, etc.).

A few of the languages up there might not be recognizably from Gurutama. Some of those are for monster races like trolls, giants, and orcs. The others, like Krangi, Lathlani, and Sqwuani, are for a few of the main races. Krangi is Hobgoblin, Lathlani is Elven, and Sqwuani is Avian.

The other members of my D&D group are getting a little more interested in Gurutama lately and there was talk of setting up a wiki for the campaign setting so everyone could edit and add stuff on.

If the wiki is set up I’ll start moving content there. The stuff I create will still be posted here but my friends can’t make the same promise.

That’s it for today!

-GoCorral