Today is exactly one year since I joined OGF and drew the first streets in the city of Fontjana to start the country of Karolia. So here are some thoughts and observations on the project:
Firstly, even with a modest territory, this is a huge project that will take years, perhaps even decades, to complete a whole country. I see that I have spent more time editing the wiki than the map since it was started, so perhaps need to redress this balance.
That said, having the wiki to create aspects of the country that cannot be shown on a map is one of the best parts of the project. I want to start including more pictures and making objects that are ‘from’ my country to make it more real. I think the whole thing has the ability to make us think about what our ideals for a nation are, and even to influence us politically in the real world. There is an interesting dilemma between creating a country that lives up to these ideals and making it seem realistic; for example in my country of Karolia I would like to have moderate taxation and little state interference in citizens’ personal lives, but at the same time a large welfare system and public funding for construction projects and arts, which might not all be possible.
One thing I would like to add to country pages is the melodies of national anthems. Being a music teacher I have the ability to write these and create realistic orchestral simulations of the music, so perhaps if there is the ability to place audio files on the wiki I would consider taking requests to compose these.
There seems to be something of an imbalance towards creating countries that are rich and developed (although I see a few dictatorships too). Now, of course everybody wants their main territory to be a successful nation they are proud of, but I would also like to see countries that are less stable and which could be just as interesting to create as well as adding realism. I hope one day to be given another territory in which I would create a ‘failed state’ (like Somalia, Congo, Eritrea) where there is civil war, terrorism, religious fundamentalism, or despotic totalitarianism. Yes, these things are not nice, but we must recognise that they exist in the real world.
Finally, how much of the real world gets ‘imported’ into OGF? I don’t like the idea of a planet that has no Shakespeare or Beethoven, but the countries and cultures these people came from do not exist here. Perhaps great historical figures from the real world can take on a different name and identity but have the same achievements in OGF?
Comment from histor on 13 December 2014 at 00:14
Yes - one year is a time, where can be drawn the rough outlines of a country. It is a lot of work. But you can see smaller units as p.e. Khaiwoon, who are ready drawn with the coopoeration of some people.
First in an OGF-country - so I see - in most cases are the motorways, railways and the great cities. So the flat land seems often empty. But if yo define woods, fields, grassland etc, you can fill some km² in short time.
If you draw for railways and metros each track, you need many time. So every one must choose, if it is worth, to have then a significnat better looking rail-system or a more simply pattern.
The OGF-wiki is an important point, what allows to say this things over a land, what is not to see at the map. Thanks to thilo.
And to the last point: To find 10.000 names, it is not easy. So I take names of the real world for streets or villages and from existing persons as Julius Caesar, Shakespeare, Goethe, Kant, Einstein, iberian kings and so on in the same manner as fictive names from other OGF-lands or towns. That for me has more feeling and athmosphere as name as “Xykon” or “Fabax” or other total puristic names. But I think, that is a question, that everybody can handle, as he/she want.
Comment from BMSOUZA on 13 December 2014 at 01:09
Congratulations fot your first year in OGF, Sarepava!
You really wants to bring OGF to life - creating a “bad” country will be a big (but interesting) challenge… I want to see this, hehehe!
In fact, everyone, I think, wants to create in OGF a idealistic country, but we really need to consider that there is not a heaven in land.
In first article I wrote about Cariocas in wiki, I mentioned crime rates (I deleted this information these days…)
About “importing” real world to OGF… it is a personal question to everyone. I use some real names (Belgravia, Stockerau; in Cariocas I use indigenous names in general). But I use names of friends too, and I change some names of real important person in real world. Just today I was thinking creating a important racer named “Artyom Senda”, that would be Ayrton Senna, to name a autodrome.
I mentioned yesterday about the name of the airport in Slovech (“Vira Mesa”), a joke between the (bad) nickname of the football club I like ( Fluminense ) and a name of the real airport in Campinas, SP (“Vira Copos”). The airport in Paranabi, Cariocas, is a mix of Santos Dumont (brasilian father of aviation) and Wright brothers (american fathers of aviation).
So… the real world is like a inspiration to my countries in OGF
Comment from Sarepava on 13 December 2014 at 01:09
What I meant in the last paragraph is that I would like Shakespeare and Beethoven and other artists and great historical figures from the real world to exist in the history of the OGF world too, but they could have different names and come from different countries. So, Beethoven might be from Latina, and Shakespeare from Pretany, and they might be called different names but the music and the plays would still exist and be as famous.
Comment from BMSOUZA on 13 December 2014 at 01:14
… I understand, as I “transformed” the brasilian Ayrton in a “russian” Artyom, hehehe
Comment from Egen on 13 December 2014 at 06:09
I also discovered that creating a country in OGF is something that could take years.
My original plan, when I first contacted Thilo for a small, out of the way, territory, was to simply map a single small town for which I had previously created a map. Once the town was done, I decided that I should really include the roads that led out of the town, and then of course the towns at the ends of those roads. A year later I’m working on several cities, and still have not mapped a fraction of the detail that is possible. (Nor the 10,000+ street names.)
The Wiki added a new dimension to the project, and so my country gained a name, languages, and a history to fit in what I had mapped. Adding a large airport inspired me to create aircraft for my new airport, and an airline to go with them. No Seattle or Boeing means there aren’t any B747s, so a new aerospace company is born, with more Wiki pages to write.
I still have cities and scenes I’d like to 3D model, Wiki articles that need to be completed, and for the last week I’ve been working on bank notes. I didn’t anticipate doing any of these things when I started to map my little town.
Addressing the lack of Shakespeare and Beethoven…in my mind, my territory started when the people there ‘landed’. I don’t know if they fell out of the sky, sailed in by boat, or were dropped off by aliens. I assume they showed up with languages, clothes, tools to get started, and enough books and recordings to give them the same general cultural frame of reference that we have. Maybe the writings of Shakespeare and the music of Beethoven came along for the ride, so there’s no reason they shouldn’t be referenced, even if there is no London or Bonn in the OGF world.
For me, OFG is a giant canvas waiting for us to fill in the empty spaces, and it has been immensely enjoyable for me to work on filling my little corner.
Comment from thilo on 13 December 2014 at 15:34
As requested, I installed an extension to handle audio files (format: ogg). See the “Roantra” wiki page for an example.
Comment from isleño on 14 December 2014 at 03:39
Thanks for the insights, Sarepava. These are some good points and I’ll definitely be looking forward to hearing your anthems. Hopefully they will be more original than Roantra’s. ;-) j/k
As for the point about poor countries and failed states, I agree that the OGF world would be much more interesting and realistic if we try to create more of these. In fact I’ve reserved UL125 (the huge tropical island between Uletha and Archanta) to be a poor, developing country which will definitely have internal strife going on. Plans are well underway, so stay tuned. (Btw I also think these places may be somewhat faster to draw than wealthy nations. They lack the same extent of advanced infrastructure, like railway systems, motorways, interchanges, fancy airports, big universities, etc, and they tend to be more rural than urban. Also a lot of their roads are nameless, so that should save time too.)
As for borrowing from real life, everyone is of course free to do as they wish, but it should be said that some of us definitely cringe when we see very specific borrowing from the real world.
For example, instead of Beethoven, it only takes a few minutes to imagine a composer whose story is even more interesting:
Instead of a man who went deaf, how about a mute mystery woman who was found living in a mental asylum in 1803? No one ever heard her speak a word of fluent language, but she must have had some musical education in her past, because one day a visitor noticed that the tiny lines and scribbles all over her walls were pieces of music, and they turned out to be brilliant. Reports from the premiere performance of her first symphony state that the finale left the entire audience in tears. Her true name was never discovered, and she never wrote anything except music, but she went on to author 16 symphonies and a vast number of other pieces, and is known simply as Lady Inconnue, celebrated as one of history’s greatest composers…
And the best part is, we can invent as many of these amazing stories as we want. Our world can host a rich tapestry of cultural achievements that are even greater than those of Earth. That would be my thinking anyway.
Comment from isleño on 14 December 2014 at 03:59
Also, street names! I think cranking out 10,000 street names in any flavor you like is actually much easier than choosing 10,000 well known names from Earth. Whatever feeling or atmosphere you want to create, the Internet is full of different generators and lists that can give you an endless supply of names. Nothing else in OGF is this easy. All you do is click through and make a list of ones you want to use.
Want names with the flavor of a specific location? Lots of places have their street names listed online, such as London or Paris or Brooklyn for example.
Want names that sound like famous Spaniards, or Vietnamese, or Ukrainians, or Maori? Try a people name generator with nearly 100 language settings.
Want names with an old port town flair? Why not check out a list of fish or a list of nautical terms or lists of other relevant subjects.
Want names that sound like a certain language? You can generate male names, female names and place names in dozens of different languages.
How about random nonsense that sounds like English words or maybe just random street names?
Or write your own phonetic rules to produce a completely new and unique flavor. Here are generators for names in Khaiwoon and Niulutan-Riu (scroll down & click the ‘generate’ button).
Hope this helps someone out there! :-)
Comment from BMSOUZA on 14 December 2014 at 05:15
These links are fantastics, isleño!!!!!!!!!
Comment from histor on 14 December 2014 at 19:59
But the names of the animals can be the same? ;-)
Alondra - die Lerche / lark ; Cigüeñas - die Störche /storks; Golondrinas - die Schwalben / swallows; Gatos - die Katzen / cats; Mirlos - die Amseln / merle (frz.); Lupos - die Wölfe / wolfen; Cerdos - die Schweine / pigs. That are words with its own quality of reality.
Yes, o.k. - I’m conservative.
Comment from JBstad1 on 17 December 2014 at 00:24
Thanks, Isleño for the info on street names. Very much appreciate it.
Comment from isleño on 17 December 2014 at 05:54
Thanks guys, glad the links are helpful. I’ll add them to the wiki help section.
Histor - I know you’re kidding, but just to explain the difference for me is importing types versus importing individuals. (So for me, humans exist, but not Beethoven. Dogs exist, but not Laika. Sheep exist, but not Dolly.) Of course everyone makes their own decisions about what to import, and I have no idea why I draw my line where I do, haha. Maybe someone else is able to explain that, I don’t know. :-)
Comment from histor on 17 December 2014 at 18:15
Isleño, you write many helpful things in the wiki - thanks. I know well your intention, but as you know, I have an other meaning about this item. But for me that is no problem, to see this in different manners.
In german language there is the battle of proverbs: “nomen is omen” versus “names are loudness and smoke” (Namen sind Schall und Rauch). So I take the names, as my brain found it - real or fictive or in the wordbook german - spain.
Comment from Sarepava on 17 December 2014 at 23:15
isleño, the list is very helpful. I was aware of two of the sources, but not the others.