OpenGeofiction

Revisiting Woolonia

Posted by Ernestpcosby on 26 January 2017 in English (English)

Hey, everyone. As you all may remember, I'm the manager of a collaborative country called Woolonia in Archanta. Woolonia is a purple country (managed but collaborative), and is a modern country with a sheep-centered society. It's largely split between urban modern cities and smaller more traditional herding towns and sheep pastures in rural areas. The wool and sheep product (including food) industries are the staples of the country. Woolonia developed in an interestingly unique way- It remained very sheep centered, but the cities urbanized and developed around it.

Having dedicated more time and concentration to working on my own nation of Freedemia, I haven't really had a chance to do much work on Woolonia. On top of that, I haven't been able to figure out where to start. I'm looking for more people interested in helping out. For more information, see the three links below:

EDIT- PROJECT IN PROCESS OF CHANGING. SEE COMMENTS AND OGF:Woolonia Collaboration Talk Page.

Woolonia Wiki

Woolonia Talk Page

OGF:Woolonia Collaboration Talk Page

Ideas, volunteers, and people interested in taking on a side project of helping with it are welcome. Please respond in the comments if you'd like to know more. I'm not looking for a bunch of new motorways-I think the current motorway system is already pushing it. But small towns, a few select new cities where city markers are on the map (Centerport, Shearville, Pastureville), and rural areas are welcome. Improvements of Woolport and New Wooley are also greatly welcomed.

*To be clear, Maydien is property of user Belphenia Project. Please don't mess with that area, it is not free to edit. Also, Belphenia Project has already gotten a good start on Slauson City, but the area listed as "Shearville" could still use a lot of work (it was originally just a copy of LA and frankly most just needs deletion and replacement). If you do take on this project, please try not to mess with what has already been done in the Slauson City area. :)

Comment from wangi on 26 January 2017 at 23:28

Is it not worth rethinking the whole "wool" thing? It's a bit tenuous and far fetched!

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Comment from Ūdilugbulgidħū on 26 January 2017 at 23:56

I like the "wool" theme - but like wangi says, it goes a bit far. 'A modern herding society' is a great byline, perhaps rethink some of the details though. You could add great depth to this story by focusing on the role of sheep in traditional culture, make it more believable. I'll think about how this could be mapped and give you some ideas.

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Comment from Ernestpcosby on 27 January 2017 at 01:23

Well, the traditional culture part is only part of it. The culture didn't create the sheep industry, the practicality of using the sheep to their benefit was what influenced the culture. The reason that sheep became so revered in a sense in traditional culture was the fact that for centuries, people's livelihoods centered around sheep, for food, for clothing, for trading (similar to the way beaver pelts were traded as currency), etc. The modern part came from the socialist regime in the 1910's -1980's with a twisted perspective on how that culture and reliance on sheep would play into a modern world, which is a large part of why some of it is so disproportionately developed, and why other industries (mainly technology) do exist.

Part of the idea was that most of the industry does revolve around sheep specifically, largely as one of the reasons it's still unstable- there aren't many other industries that are strong for the country. Considering the onslaught of concern of lead products and such in Commonian wool and sheep products, which originally seemed to be one of the largest international sources (back when Woolonia was owned by someone else and still had extreme verisimilitude issues) it helped that industry grow on a global scale.

The industry isn't just wool, but the wool industry there is as big as the cotton industry would be in real life in many countries. However, food products, milk products, meat products, soaps, and all sorts of other products, etc also add to the industry. Most rural jobs were related to sheperding or processing/transportation of sheep goods/wools/meats/milks, while most urban jobs were related manufacturing jobs. Obviously other jobs exist, as in any country- retail, corporations, services, technology, media, etc, but a lot of it was deliberately meant to be sheep centered.

There are other things, such as perhaps semi-successful technology companies, entertainment companies (Until it was bought out by Betterview Studios, WoolMedia (thus named because of the country name, not because of the Wool industry) was one of the largest entertainment companies in the world, and one of the only non-sheep-related Woolonian businesses to see international success), maybe shipping and logistics, etc, but most of everything else would be small enough that it would stay within the country with little influence on the outside world. One of the goals of the relations with Freedemia was to gradually strengthen other parts of Woolonia's economy and infrastructure to grow other industries, etc, but the reason that all is needed is directly because of the excessive reliance on sheep based products and industries.

I would really like to expand the traditional culture of Woolonia, with the role of sheep clarified, as well as expand other non-sheep related industries (maybe shipping due to it's location? I'm not sure yet) and I'd love any and all ideas. There is huge room to add that depth and I think it would make the story more realistic and more believable, as well as have a richer even more unique history and role in the OGF world. But I want that to be built on top of the existing concept, not replace it. It's a pretty key part of why Woolonia still exists today- when I became manager, it was a hodgepodge of insane things like talking sheep, space wolves, goats with superpowers. The only reason it's still Woolonia today and the only reason I didn't just try to get part of it as my own country and delete everything is because I saw great potential in the sheep-centered (HUMAN) society (lol XD) concept and wanted to somehow salvage that.

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Comment from isleño on 27 January 2017 at 23:49

I agree with Udi and wangi that you may want to do some major rethinking about Woolonia.

The OGF world already has so many English-speaking countries crisscrossed by motorways… the main thing that makes Woolonia's mapping different is that the previous owner made half the names sheep/farm related, which is a bit... awkward.

My suggestion would be: why not make this territory into something really unique? How about a sheep-focused traditional society in very poor developing country with almost no motorways — and perhaps use a word generator to give it a totally original language, one that feels distinctly un-European... maybe representing an indigenous culture of this continent?

I don’t know… it would just be so refreshing to see a really foreign place develop here.

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Comment from Ernestpcosby on 28 January 2017 at 00:45

Thanks, @Isleno, but some thoughts, sort of an agreement and a dissent:

I really do like the idea you have for a completely not-modern nation, with no motorways and a unique language and culture that go back centuries. I'm really excited about this concept, and I'd love to help bring it to fruition. However, I feel like a lot could be gained by having at least a contrast, a conflict if you will. Having that sense of conflict between modern/"western" society and native Antarephian culture could be very interesting. I'm really excited about your idea, though, and I'd like to propose an idea that I think could properly integrate both as two separate nations, without either concept being hindered.

What I would think would be the best proposal, based off your suggestions, is maybe something like this: The proposal

Basically, the country would be split into two countries,

  • A small area, mostly coastal, that would be the more modern "Woolonia" closer to how we know it today, a more modern society due to minor colonization but still largely based around sheep. Most motorways would be downgraded or deleted, cities would be slightly de-modernized and made a bit poorer, and all areas west of the coastal stretch of cities would become organized sheep pastures and pasture towns. And,

  • a much larger country to the west, the indigenous "Land of the Wool" (that name, of course, would be translated into a new unique language) that would have no motorways, no cities, very poor, and largely consist of small near-native shepherding communities, pastures, and other large natural fields. All motorways would be deleted, the language would be changed to native original language, and it would mostly mostly an open expanse of land with shepherding communities, pastures, fields, etc, a very poor developing country, at odds with the modern Woolonia to the east.

This would also work well with the idea of the war, which could be changed from a civil war into a war between traditional warriors from the Land of the Wool and the government of the modern Woolonia, who would have tried to claim the Land of the Wool in the late 1900s. It would also give a reason for the persisting conflict between traditional natives from the Land of the Wool who feel their land is being stolen from them and the modernized coast nation of Woolonia.

The modern part would also make more sense here. As a mostly coastal stretch of land, it would make sense that it was an area that had been colonized, perhaps for use as a shipping port of sorts, considering it's location in such a valuable shipping corridor. Perhaps they would exploit the location for shipping the sheep and wool products the shepherds of the "Land of the Wool" produced to various countries around the world, while also getting most of the profits.

This way, the original concept isn't lost, but is reformed in a way that creates a much more interesting dialogue, creates a history, a conflict, as well as opening the door for the awesome idea that I do really like of having a highly traditional society based mostly off native Antarephian culture. It also gives the more modern Woolonia side more of a slightly darker tone, which gives me some room to play with (since Freedemia is more on the nice, pacifist, respectful end of things).

If you all think that something like this could work, I would be happy to work with it. I'm excited about this concept and I think it could be the best thing for the region, giving it a new dialogue, one that definitely wouldn't exist with the status quo, and I'm really glad you guys gave these ideas, especially @Isleno, because I feel like there's something to work with here.

But, if completely starting from scratch is the only real feasible option, and the rest of the OGF world seems to think that's the best choice, then I think I'd be better in a position of collaborator than manager. Please understand that I don't mean to sound petty, but if everything is entirely scrapped, it basically renders my initial attempts to save Woolonia futile. I think that a lot more could be gained from this having a contrast and conflict between the modern and the traditional, similar to what I proposed in the link above.

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Comment from isleño on 28 January 2017 at 02:29

Sounds great to me. I think this would make OGF more realistic, more exciting, and more interesting. I hope you can find a creative way to use New Wooley... the layout there is definitely worth preserving.

A note on language: my own approach is very "shallow" (I just use a word generator to create a thousand place names that sound related, then it's easy copy/paste, and I make up meanings later as I please) — but if you want to go "deep" into creating a language I'm sure there are conlangers here who would love to assist.

Anyway... definitely looking forward to see what happens. Good luck!

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Comment from Ernestpcosby on 28 January 2017 at 03:11

Thanks, @isleno.

I'm about to update the OGF:Woolonia page with a bit of this (the proposal map and some of the details of the new idea). Hopefully I'll get to a bit more in coming days.

And thanks for the language tips! I almost want to try to use a word generator to get a starting word, something simple and relevant, like "sheep", then get help to generate a new language around it.

As for New Wooley, I'd like to preserve it too. It has a fascinating layout...just one I've never been able to understand myself XD so I haven't been able to work on it much

Did you have any ideas on why it would exist? The only thing I could think of was a sort of enclave of the modern Woolonia, like perhaps in the war that was the farthest they reached and for some reason retained the land as an enclave, but I'm struggling to find any real reasoning that would make it make sense where it is.

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Comment from isleño on 28 January 2017 at 09:26

Or... maybe it is indigenous, perhaps it was the grand capital of an ancient empire, with a palace or temple or something in the center. There are very old grid cities (Kyoto, Xi'an, etc) so it's not impossible. I'm sure there are other alternatives too...

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Comment from Ernestpcosby on 28 January 2017 at 09:53

That's an interesting point. I think I'd like to work with an idea like that. Maybe in the next couple days I'll make a diary entry or something to get further ideas. It seems like with some selective deletion (most of the motorways, probably downgrading a lot of roads, removing some of the industrial areas, etc) it could be made to be a much more historic city.

Maybe it was an ancient city or something that was sort of the main trading point for shepherds of the "Land of the Wool", as well as the geographical center of some cultural thing. I noticed New Wooley has a port of sorts there right now, it's pretty bad at the moment, but it creates a bit of a possibility that it's location along a major river (which would be remapped) was the reason for choosing that location. Maybe it was one of the earliest attempts at a "modern" trading city, (maybe 1500's?) but from the perspective of the culture of the indigenous area. That wouldn't explain why it's so big... but maybe it's the only "city" in the "Land of the Wool", and acts as the capital and as the center of the little order they do have.

I feel like @Udi would be a large help on this one considering all of the unique things that he's created. :P

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Comment from Ernestpcosby on 28 January 2017 at 09:57

Now of course this "city" would still be more on the scale of a poor developing country, but it would be more condensed than the rest of the nation.

Maybe there were historic trade routes led to the "city"? If it was sort of a trade hub?

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Comment from Pawl on 28 January 2017 at 11:07

At a slight tangent, could I suggest a re-think of the flag too? You won't find such pale colours, or multiple shades of the same colour (except blue and sky-blue), on real-world national flags, because a flying flag needs strong colours and good contrast to be easily recognized.

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Comment from Ernestpcosby on 28 January 2017 at 21:37

@Pawl, thanks for the input. The flag will very likely be redone as well. That might happen a little further in to the planning, though; since both Woolonia and the proposed "Land of the Wool" are about to change a lot, the new flag may be influenced by the changes being made in history, etc.

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Comment from isleño on 29 January 2017 at 22:53

@Ernestpcosby: All those ideas sound promising to me. You're right that Udi is a great person to ask for advice on creating really unique things. I don't know how much free time Luciano has right now, but he's another one who definitely fits that description.

Pawl makes a good point about flags; and if you're interested, I'm sure he'd be happy to design some great ideas for you.

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Comment from Pawl on 30 January 2017 at 19:56

Yes, I'm always willing to help out with flags :-)

Before Ernestcosby said things were going to change a lot, I was going to float this idea for a flag, keeping the existing concept ... along with a sheepish coat of arms!

Woolonia-flag-arms-idea

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Comment from Ernestpcosby on 30 January 2017 at 23:58

Actually, Pawl, that looks really good! I think that would be a great flag and coat of arms for the more modern eastern colonialized nation of Woolonia. :)

Not sure what will be part of the flag for the "Land of the Wool" idea, though. I think it may take figuring out more of the history and culture to figure that one out.

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Comment from wangi on 31 January 2017 at 02:37

Good to see the change in direction, only thing i would add is to not make the the naming reflect sheep, plus keep in mind sheep tending would lead to a predominately rural density,

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Comment from Ernestpcosby on 31 January 2017 at 03:11

@Wangi, the "Land of the Wool" would be basically entirely rural except for perhaps 1 or 2 ancient 'cities' of sorts that had some cultural significance. (New Wooley (or at least the center of it) may become one of these cities, assuming downgrading of most if not all roads and the deletion of a lot of suburbs, motorways, and extraneous modern junk)

Even the newer nation of "Woolonia" would be mostly rural, other than the coastal strip of non-herding related towns and cities such as the port city that will likely be located near where Woolport is now.

Not everything will be named after sheep. It certainly won't be as widespread as before. I do feel like something with that much significance in their society and culture would lead to at least a couple names, though. Perhaps little things in the western rural part of the more modern Woolonia like roads in small herding towns that used to be sheep paths with a name like "(insert name) Path" instead of road, blvd, otherwise. (of course, this would be in the local dialect, not in Ingerish) That would likely be more in the modern Woolonia. Not sure how naming would be in the "Land of the Wool" yet. I can assure that not everything will be named after sheep. But there will still be a couple places that probably will be, though it won't be as common.

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