Archive for July, 2010

Mosaic: The Distribution Scheme

July 30, 2010

This is the scheme by which I am distributing timelines:

First, I divide the entireity of history into epochs, using a logrithmic scale.   (Base two).  I cut off everything more recent than 1 year ago (as the differences would be hardly noticable) and everything more distant than about 10 million years ago (For simplicities sake.  I’m presuming these epochs do ‘exist’ in the cosmology, but their gammas are too high to let them matter.)

For each time line, starting with the most distant epoch, walk through the epochs.  Generate a random number (a double between 0 and 1). If that number is less than that epoch’s gamma value, record a ‘0’ for that epoch.  If it’s more, roll again.  If less, record a ‘1’.   If not, roll again, and so on.  For anything that is not a 0, seed a random number generator with  a function that encodes every number recorded so far for the timeline and generate a random year inside the epoch.  That’s when this timeline diverges from timelines with a 0 in this place.

At the end, we should have a list of 25 numbers, most of which are zeroes, so we’ll abbreviate  long strings of them, to get something like “(17Z)1.0.0.0.0.0.0” (or “(17Z)1(6Z)”). That’s the prime cell’s timeline designation.  (If I use the designations in-setting, I’ll need to add the extra leading zeroes to reach the beginning of time.)  And I’ll also have a list of dates for the divergences.

The tricky part, of course, is getting the gamma values correct: finding a smooth function that gets me a dramatically interesting set of timelines.

Mosaic: Location Re-Finalized, Distribution thoughts

July 28, 2010

So, I’ve come up with another suitable location for the prime cell.  It’s a bit different that the original one, giving up in return for more of San Francisco and a slive of the  Peninsula, and losing the Golden Gate bridge bisection but getting one on the San Rafael-Richmond bridge.  Still have Travis and Antioch, though so we’re good.


I tried to get a map even further zoomed out, but openstreetmap will only give two decimal places in latitude/longitude at that scale, and I need 3 to make things line up sufficnetly well.  You can really see the ordered-ness of the structure at that level, especially with the colors I’m using now, which are dependent on the position in the8-cell repeating unit. When I get distribution down, I’ll change the colors to something based on what type of cell we’re gettin. At this point, the basic categories are “No Humans”, “Utterly Alien Humans”, “Recognizably Alien Humans (who share the same antiquity as our time line, that is), “Cultually recognizable non-technological timelines”, “Bombed out Wastelands”, “Profoundly Illiberal modern societies”,  and “Close parallels”.  The assumptions that lead to this are:

  • humanity is lucky to have surived the bottleneck roundabout mitochondrial eve’s time, and doesn’t in anything diverging earlier
  • the world’s major religions are apparently not the product of actual divine intervention and so don’t occur in anything diverging earlier than their founding
  • The industrial revolution was profoundly unlikely, and doesn’t happen in timelines that don’t resemble ours around the time that it did, for the most part.
  • Our timeline was surpassingly lucky to have seen nuclear weapons invented during the last throes of a world war.  If they’re invented any other time, their first use is much more widespread and the reaction to them is not that of a world profoundly tired of war, hence the wastelands.
  • The more frequent (which does not mean the same thing as more likely) outcome of the World Wars was a second round of fighting immediately with the soviets, leading to their domination of Europe and a considerably less prosperous and more illiberal America.)

Mosaic: Setbacks

July 26, 2010

So, I went to make some close-up maps of  my chosen location, and it didn’t work .  The things were coming out at the wrong place.  So I went back into the program, sophisticated up the model (including mercator latitudes rather than just going x-longitude, y-latitude, and using latitude-based radiuses so that the Earth had the proper elipsoid shape.)   Still no dice.  Then I determined that somehow my y dimension has been flipped, so I re-flipped it and I get the ability to zoom and pan properly now.  But I’ve lost my perfect cell in the process.  So it’s back to generating maps for a while.    The current criteria for them is : contains Travis AFB, part of San Francisco, bisects at least one bridge, and contains Antioch.  Back to grinding them out, I guess.

Mosaic: Location finalized

July 21, 2010

So I finally hit upon a set of numbers for the rotation of the Earth that gave me something very close to a perfect’prime cell’:

I get almost everything that I wanted.  I get San Francisco itself split, I get the Golden Gate bisected interestingly, I get plenty of productive farmland including the vineyards in Napa.  I only get part of the Presidio, which is not a thing since I was mistaken and that one is actually closed down, but I do get an interesting military presence in the form of Travis Air Force Base.  And, as icing on the cake, I get the thematically significantly-named Antioch, right on the outer border of the cell.

Which means it’s time to finish working out the distrbution, and setting up the neighboring cells.  Being entirely willing to fudge things in the near neighbors, I want a highly divergent but not completely alien city in the rest of San Francisco, in the pink cell to the southwest, and in the yellow one to the west of that will be a small fleet of viking-derived people expecting to find a completely different port, and probably sparcely populated neighbors on the other sides.  But I’ll see how things work out when I do have the distribution in hand.

The Starfish Ambassador (Little Game Chef 2010)

July 12, 2010

So, as I mentioned earlier here, I took part in the Little Game Chef contest over at story-games.com a few weeks ago, and my entry, The Starfish Ambassador, did fairly well, scoring several good reviews from the judges and one of the three “Judge’s Special Mention”s.  So I thought I’d post it here so that it would remain available after the contest directory is taken down.

the_starfish_ambassador

Enjoy!

Mosaic: Location (2)

July 8, 2010

So, continuing to search for a suitable map. Right now my main generation program has six ‘knobs’: an x,y,z displacement, in absolute coordinates, of the Polyhedral Honeycomb, and an alpha,beta,gamma (Euler coordinates) rotation for the planet, but in practice I’m only adjusting the latter one of thes, looking for a cell that suits my needs.  I want:

1) The Presidio to be included, because while I want the small military presence the area provides, I don’t want zero military whatsoever.

2) At least one bridge bisected, preferably but not necessarily the Golden Gate.

3)More than one of the larger cities at least partially present in the cell.

4) At least one largeish city bisected

5) No single municipal government clearly ‘in charge’ based on the geography and demography of the cell, and

6) A decent amount of farmland included
It takes an unfortunately long time to generate each map (10-20 minutes), which means finding something close enough to tweak into what I need is going to take a while.  Next up will be either success and the map, preliminary discussion of the alternate distribution problem’s solutions, or a Little Game Chef update, I think.