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An Awesome New Worldbuilding Tool

May 18, 2012

If you write secondary world fantasy in a pre-modern, pseudo-Medieval setting, you are going to find thisverycool:

ORBIS: The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World

What is it?

It’s like GoogleMaps for the ancient Roman world.

You just enter in your parameters and voila!  Orbis calculates the best route for you and tells you how long it will take.  And there are a lot of parameters: not just departure point and destination, but time of year, method of travel, relative expensiveness of travel, etc.

In other words, this is really cool.

A word of warning, though: it only appears to work with a fairly updated browser (like IE 9 or a more recent Firefox installation, and you’ll want to temporarily turn off any script blockers you might have on). 

This is going into my worldbuilding and inspiration toolkit along with:

I just wanted to share this with you all.  I haven’t had a chance to play with it much, yet, but what I’ve seen of it is pretty cool.

Oh, and all those other things I just linked… I’ve shared them around here before, haven’t I?  No?  Oh.  Well, those things are cool tools to help your worldbuilding, too.  Check them out if you haven’t seen them.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. May 18, 2012 12:38 pm

    Great links there. These days I’m quite intensely working on worldbuilding instead of blogging as I promised myself I would do. 🙂 In fact, a week ago I myself found that demographics page. Nice stuff.

    Mark Rosenfelder’s language kit is pretty good for a non linguist, by the way. Hold on to this.

    • May 18, 2012 12:45 pm

      Yeah, I’ve had all these other pages (not the Orbis one) on my list of links stashed in various places (in e-mails, saved on word docs, etc) for a while now. The Zompist site is one of the places that helped me to start to develop my linguistics knowledge and capabilities. (For a while, several years ago, I considered getting a degree in linguistics, but I couldn’t figure out what I’d do with it. So I took up learning as much of it on my own through whatever easily available resources I could lay my hands on as I could. Turns out the internet has a lot of good resources to help out amateur linguists.) I’m not currently in worldbuilding-mode, but on the other hand worldbuilding isn’t done until the book itself is finished, so I come back to these sorts of things from time to time as I write.

    • May 18, 2012 1:09 pm

      Also… I am still waiting on that latest blog post you mentioned… 😉 I’m interested in learning a little more of your take on the subject.

      • May 19, 2012 12:18 pm

        Ha! I know, don’t worry. It’s all there in my head, I just need to sit down and do the actual writing. 🙂

  2. May 18, 2012 12:49 pm

    Links of awesome! I heard about the Orbis site recently and I’ve done those calculations (probably very badly) by myself in the past. This makes it so much easier.

    • May 18, 2012 1:13 pm

      Indeed it does. I’ve done a few “back-of-the-envelope” style calculations on stuff like this, but it’s very rough. Recently is was “how many days would something comparable to a steam locomotive take to get from point A to point B while traveling only at night?”. I still don’t trust my answer (it appears in chapter 2 of my current novel-WIP). And unfortunately ORBIS doesn’t help with that. 😦

  3. May 18, 2012 1:15 pm

    Ah, worldbuilding…one of the truly fun parts of the whole writing process. I’m always fiddling around with such stuff in my head for this project or that…so those are some lovely links. Good finds!

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