How do you make a timeline for your world(s)? [Survey]

Kupotepo

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slimmmeiske2

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@Kupotepo We don't delete threads, nor are they automatically deleted after a while. Here's some threads I found by you from 2018.
 

Kupotepo

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@slimmmeiske2, I found it is now. Sorry for the drama. Everything is good now.
 
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h0tWalker

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My construction line starts off with notepad, chat with a mate whos interested in my projects, re-iterated into a new notepad file (i like to keep a backlog of my previous ideas), then put the processed work into a customized word document (for some reason its important for me to make it look the part). In word i organize it sorta chapter wise. One chapter is the character, one is the towns, etc. etc. That way i have a huge reference document, built from smaller sorted documents. I also keep change logs at the end of each document with dates so i can go back and see what i did. So if i either reach the end of a goal, or do a major update / add lots of content , i'll update the document name from "Project Name 1.1.0" to "Project Name 1.1.2" and keep a copy of the old project. Did i say i like to have a back log? :p

For tools aside from word, i like to organize my projects development process with trello, i used to run character organization through StoryBlue i think it was called, a dead software, so really glad i found Campfire in this post. Another website I've used is WorldAnvil. I'm not good at drawing, but I like Photoshop for edits and drawings, collage is a very efficient way for people who lack in the art department to work something out, and if you don't wanna spend the money, Gimp is a great alternative.

To re-cap the first, i break it all down into each "chapter", but i usually create a world map at the start of the project, so that it's a reference chart the entire way through, and helps building the world. This includes creating provinces, etc. early on so that you can develop that as you reach it :)

Just to quickly touch on some of the other points, its a bit down to the project. Like for Laws i like to split it into a few different parts. If the country is run by nobles, they have a common law they all have to follow. While they all follow them, they can each apply laws within their own provinces, thus making local laws on top of the others. By having regular laws, I don't find the need to note them, its quite common what is a regular law if your a good guy, however, under the province section, i would write down the local laws. Same goes with festivals and other stuff. I also write down the relation to nobles and commoners, and probably have a own section for the class system, just to have an overview, and an area to refer to should i need.

The reason I like word and use this sorta structure is that I kinda like it the old way. While I'm definitely checking out campfire, and probably getting it, its just having one complete document with an index helps keeping things organized and easy to find. It's also great if you suddenly get a team together, as you don't have to explain much to them. Same goes if you get an artist to visualize something for you, as you've already captured the feelings and idea for them. Trello is basically for keeping track of what needs to be done, and is an organized check list that i fancy. Photoshop for visualizing early map concepts, etc.

So to quickly re-cap. I usually write down ideas in notepad, chat with a friend, re-iterate the idea before i apply it to the word document. There I have it sorted from countries down to the towns, so that each location has its details. The reason is as others have mentioned. The economy, religion and politics, even culture, may vary from location to location. A harbor city is bound to have trade. A fishing village lives of the fishes, not merchants. So it's important to establish the differences. But I'm not gonna go more in-depth as Hosercanadian already said quite a bit there :D
 
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Black Pagan

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I use Trello and Notepad. Trello is an Online App on my Phone that lets me plan out things into Sub-categories.

1. How detail is your structure?
Well, The Game i'm working on currently is a Short 20 Minute game so it has different maps. I just plan out things for each map on Trello.

2. Does your world have restrictions on travel?
The Game is a Survival Game. So, No. I wanted an Open world so its quite possible for the Player to wander about. Although I make it so that the Player can anytime retreat to the comfort of his "Tent" which can be accessed in the Main menu. This is because it has a Day and Night system where Monsters come out at Night.

5. Does your world have an incurable disease?
I do have plans to make the Player suffer status afflictions when low on Health or Energy, I wouldn't call them diseases though.
 
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Kupotepo

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@h0tWalker, thank you for your suggestions. I appreciate your time.

Sorry. Do you mean notepad as a paper book or a software for taking notes?
word document
I used the word documents too. Actually, I use word documents in bundle every Words into Excel with hyperlinks.

I also keep change logs at the end of each document with dates so i can go back and see what i did. So if i either reach the end of a goal, or do a major update / add lots of content , i'll update the document name from "Project Name 1.1.0" to "Project Name 1.1.2" and keep a copy of the old project. Did i say i like to have a back log?
That is reminding me. I need to back the projects. Back up is essential. You often see soon or later. The moderators remind us to back up.

People keep promoting it, so it must good.

StoryBlue
Thanks for your interest! Storyblue has been retired. :kaoluv: Sound, great but it is not more for download or buy it.

WorldAnvil
I think it is ok for short story, but the reference of how to write the location's description is super helpful.

@Black Pagan, thank you for expressing your though.

5. Does your world have an incurable disease?
I do have plans to make the Player suffer status afflictions when low on Health or Energy, I wouldn't call them diseases though.
Thank you for sharing with us.

1. How detail is your structure?
Well, The Game i'm working on currently is a Short 20 Minute game so it has different maps. I just plan out things for each map on Trello.
Another people recommend Trello. Is all of Trello customers from this sit?:guffaw::guffaw:

2. Does your world have restrictions on travel?
The Game is a Survival Game. So, No. I wanted an Open world so its quite possible for the Player to wander about. Although I make it so that the Player can anytime retreat to the comfort of his "Tent" which can be accessed in the Main menu. This is because it has a Day and Night system where Monsters come out at Night.
Sorry if I am being inarticulate. Not the players per-say, I meant that the NPCs are bound to the lands and cannot move without permission. Or the condition is so danagerous, that is why people did not like to travel.
 
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ave36

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I wrote a basic "History So Far" doc file for Terra Firma detailing its various Ages, Dark Lords and heroes who defeated them, notable personages such as Grimwand the Legendary Dark Knight, Nels Crimmon who married the elven princess, Isenstan the Blizzard the noble brigand riding a black Choco-Choco, etc. Then I threw it all in as I started to design exposition dialogues at various points of the game, and it all sort of evolved. Currently, the original Terra Firma History Dump file is horribly outdated and I rarely ever consult it.
 

Cormorant42

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It pretty much depends on the project. Some projects require a very detailed, in-depth history, geography, and culture, while others only need cursory stuff. Whatever it is, I tend to do it myself, though I'm beginning to get into procedurally generated stuff like Dwarf Fortress...
 

ave36

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Considering the questionnaire:
1. How detail is your structure?

The Terra Firma History Dump file really is a mess. It is organized by historical ages: what happened in the First Age of Light, what happened in the First Age of Darkness, the Second Age of Light, and so on.

2. Does your world have restrictions on travel?

Generally no. There are occasional lockdowns enforced by the Zitanian Inquisition or the Ruritanian Army, but they are on a case by case basis. Normally I limit travel in early game by not giving the party vehicles and forcing them to cross daunting geography on foot or joining ship crews as deck hands if they want to get somewhere.

3. Do you real plant or create by yourself?

It's a mix. I see no reason inventing, for example, 1000 fictional species of tree, herb and fruit for Terra Firma. But when it comes to curative herbs, they are in-game items, so they are detailed: the Emetic Herbs cure poison, the Echo Herbs cure silence, the Weeping Herbs cure blindness, the Break Herbs cure petrification.

4. Do your laws for your regional or local government?
Most likely do not impact the player's interaction unless you do a decision tree game. Do you think about it?

There are laws, but they are a general type thing: do not steal, or you land in prison, do not murder, or you'll be hanged, etc. I detail laws when they matter: for example, Zitania has a religious law stating that all magic users are tools of the Dark Gods, and they enforce it by burning mages at stake. This has a tremendous impact on the Disc 1 Plot, so this law is detailed.

5. Does your world have an incurable disease?

There's the Moosegrad Plague that does not directly correspond to any of the game's states and is handled as a plot device. It is, however, de facto curable.

6. Do some parts of your world have the class distinction?

All parts of my world have a class distinction. Oscar is a noble and a Lord's son; Mira is a commoner who became a squire and then a knight. Melle is a princess. Krible is a commoner vagrant who became a noble through serving in the Ruritanian secret police and helping the Empress in more than a few touchy matters. Kaori is a Ninja Maid (yes, that's a class by itself). Nightwind is a reformed thief, outlaw and wanted man who seeks forgiveness and becomes Oscar's squire. Solomon is a noble and a university professor.

7. How you organize politics?

Each kingdom has a general political stance that is monolithic. Zitania is far religious right and theocratic; Ruritania is secular etatist, monarchist and pro-Enlightenment sort of like Napoleonic France; Blanchion is liberal constitutional monarchist; Fjatlaborg is primitive clannish. There are no political opposition or rebel movements, the game is not about that.
 

Kupotepo

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@ave36, thank you for your response.
@Cythera, I refer your method for the recording, but when I do clean up and editing. I will put into the software because the mess will build up. I have to create the system now or it will drive me insane later. But, enough of my compalaining, thank you for your suggestion. It helps me a lot.
 
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h0tWalker

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Sorry. Do you mean notepad as a paper book or a software for taking notes?
I use the software, while I'm on the fly i note it on my phone and if I'm trying to sleep i usually have a notebook next to me. I usually note on my phone even if i try to sleep, but if i can help it, i write in the book to not get all the flashes from the screen. Helps to have the possibility there as you probably forget the idea if you don't write it down. I also note down stuff in the morning from when I'm half asleep and get ideas, or if i remember the dream that night. its nice to have the possibility to write them down as those are usually the ones your most likely to forget, at least to my experience :c

Thats advice i got from one of my teachers back in the day, and been the best when it comes to creativity, especially depending on when you as a person is most creative. Some are most creative at night (like me), some in the morning hours, while others are at their best during the day :)
 

Kupotepo

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@h0tWalker, thank you for responding back to me. Thank you for the tips too.
 
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I started with a simple Google Document, but then I found out about WorldAnvil which has a timeline feature.
 

woootbm

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I use OneNote. It's the oft-forgotten child of the MicroSoft Office suite. It's really good for organizing pages and pages within pages and pages within etc. Also, it can be sync'ed online or on an office LAN so that multiple people can edit it at once; useful for multiple person projects.

I've also seen dev's use GitBook (which is similar structure to OneNote, without requiring software to be installed like Office) and HackMD (although I think this is more for the programmers to make a bible). I've also seen Excel (and Google Sheets), as you mentioned, but that's best for more data oriented stuff like tracking player progression and itemization.
 

Chocopyro

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Well, when it comes to timelines, that's usually rather late in the process. I usually start by what sorts of peoples, ethnic groups and races live in the world. Then I draw maps, figure out which areas of the map would have a stronger racial concentration (often overlapping them), and go on to look at the geography which looks like it is designed to facilitate kingdoms, nations, chiefdoms, the like. So I draw the lines. I go through, listening to music and looking at pictures when writing up each nation and their identity, in order to keep the vision of each consistent as I write about them. (I'm a very visual writer. My imagination generally stimulates more when I look at something than it does when I'm sitting around in an empty room.)

I usually write out a lot of the histories there, overlapping a lot of the ideas, and how they change things for neighboring political powers. So once I have the histories of the races, the nations, and a few of the dungeons or places that I think would be fun to explore in the world, then I start taking that rough draft history in my head and putting it down to a word document or whatever. (Generally use Scrivener these days.) The time line may be without years listed at first. Just sort of a vague
"-The Shiori empire rose to it's height after the Eugencian empire was in it's decline.
-Following the eruption in the Osterchilde mountains, the Eugencian peoples migrated to the Edrish peninsula, meshing with the Tamians, wood elves, and hill dwarfs.
-The Eugencian empire fell, splitting into various petty kingdoms.
-The Shiori empire starts a war with the Nylathnore elves. The endevor is costly.
-The war ends. The Shiori empire is in decline. It disolves hundreds of years later into modern day Tempura, Targenia, Espelanio, Casland, and Tolland in the north, and Nirdam in the southern continent. (Not all at once)"

And once I have that rough draft laid out, and checked for continuity errors, I could add some more flavor to the various timelines, populating them with colorful characters, events, and all that to define how the modern nations eventually reached what they are in present.

Then I look back at the racial demographics I designed earlier, figure out if it still makes sense for them to have been there, or if they had to have arrived from or traveled to somewhere else, or even been assimilated by the current powers. Hence how I end up with wood elves haling mostly from the forest of Nylathnore, but with those from the Edrish pennunsula also housing many in the nations of Scarlough and Edren proper. Thus in areas with less homogenous populations, I end up letting their racial cultures mesh and weave with each other in a way that makes sense with the general concepts of each theme.

And THEN I go back through everything and give them a date.

Then you get into game, and very little of it is explained to you, but most of it is reflected in the map design. Although I may explore things through side quests that give some context as to why there's an owlbear statue adorned with a crown in the city of Hawkfall or what ever. I prefer to explain things that the player needs to know in order to solve a problem rather than exposite all over the place the floors, the walls, the ceiling. Making the player track down that information just makes it more fun to learn.
 

Kupotepo

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@Chocopyro, thank you for your wisdom. I am also appreciate you are confirming my intuition when I looked at the pictures or the maps. My mind becomes productive and generate more ideas to fill the plots and the story.

I am still thinking about some devs are really excited to share with the players. The player needs to play game first to be interesting on the story in the game.

Making the player track down that information just makes it more fun to learn.
I agree what make quests interesting and exciting.
 
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