Re: [nbos] [FM8] FM8 Wish List
"Christopher Rodrigues Macias"
Sat Mar 29th, 2008
Hi Chris, Heather,

> This is absolutely incorrect. Geology is geology.

I know what you're saying, but (although he could have been less abrupt in
his phrasing) I think David's basic point is valid. Geology is geology, but
fantasy is... unrealistic. In everything.

You're into geology, so you pick up on that. But someone who's studied
economics, or medieval society, or genetics, or physics, or linguistics, or
sociology, or you-name-it at a university level, is going to be aware that
the typical fantasy world takes liberties with all kinds of basic (*very*
basic) tenets of these fields. The deeper your knowledge of the area, the
more glaring the 'errors' seem.

However, fantasy only needs to be 'realistic' enough to satisfy the
suspension-of-disbelief of the 'typical' reader. And the market has clearly
shown that the average fantasy reader is happy to have all kinds of
un-scientific divergence from the 'real world'.

I'm a college educated and reasonably well-read person, and have even picked
up the occasional popular/layman's book on geology as an adult (something
the vast majority of the reading public will not have done), and, frankly, I
would have not the faintest clue about how to judge the realism or otherwise
of a world map. Heather, I hope this won't depress you, but the reality is
that those of us who didn't continue our study of geology beyond high school
would have a hard time remembering the definitions of 'igneous' and
'sedimentary.' What constitutes a 'realistic' placement of a mountain range,
or the 'realistic' structure of an impact crater, is just not something we
ever learned back then.

So I would argue that David's basic point is accurate. For your average
non-geology-literate roleplayer, when it comes to maps, almost anything
goes. Heck, in many cases we're talking about worlds that were moulded by
the hands of gods, not the forces of physics, so there is even a good
'justification' for this approach, if you want one.

Would I like a 'realistic' planet-building algorithm if I could get it?
Hell, yeah. When I switch into science fiction gaming mode (where the
assumptions are very slightly more strict than in fantasy games) then this
would be especially useful. However, I would still want the program to let
me drop an inland sea or volcano anywhere I want, even if it
'scientifically' could not possibly have formed there. For the typical
fantasy user, random, unrealistic geology is just fine. It may drive more
knowledgeable people crazy, but, hey, it's fantasy. Escapism is kind of the
whole point.


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