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So I reached a point in my story building where there were lots of ideas for people and places and events floating around without any framework. I see a character driving down a highway but no idea where he was going or how long it would take to get there. I decided that I needed to put some time into the geography and topology of my infinitum. A few taped together paper models later, I decided I needed to start working on a map of the connections between universes.  A few cobbled together maps later and I needed to make a map-building GUI.  And hardly had I begun work on the GUI when I decided it would be easier to make a program that would build whole planets from scratch.

A week later I’ve got planets orbiting stars with randomly generated radii, tilts, rotations, densities, and orbital distances. From there, a few equations fill in the orbital period, mass, temperature, and gravity. Now I’m working on modeling the surface. I abandoned latitude and longitude for a golden section spiral of uniform points on the surface of the sphere.  As soon as I can figure out an adequate way of representing the changes in surface elevation over distances, I’ll have topography and mountains. Then it’s on to atmospheric composition and oceans. Lastly a rough approximation of ecosystems and weather and I can get to the fun part: habitation zones.

And when it’s all done, I’ll have my map making tool. I’ll be able to create randomly generated and mathematically evolved worlds with realistic relationships between their physical constants, populated with the constructs of my imagination.

And once I know where my characters are and where they’re going, I’ll feel more comfortable writing their stories again.

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