I have been interested in creating a world/universe for a long time but never really got round to it. This may be because I don’t know where or when to start, or perhaps just because I am a heavy procrastinator.
Anyway, I decided to start this series of posts because I thought it would be nice to share some knowledge I already acquired about the subject. I have selected planets because they are the basis of all life. Without them, there would be nothing. I know I could’ve done stars or galaxies but I thought planets would be a simple, easy start.
A common theme in many Science Fiction themed movies or TV shows is to create planets which only have one ecosystem or biome. I generally believe that this can be effective but it should not by any circumstances be overused. Humans would not be able to survive on a desert wasteland planet or an ice planet. We would die of thirst, freeze or burn to death and be unable to sustain ourselves long enough to reproduce.
What I’m saying is if you decide to create a world covered in vast deserts or bleak, icy landscapes, try to inhabit the world with believable creatures and NOT humans. Only put humans on the planet if they have immigrated and possess technology which is able to support their biological demands.
However, you can design other aliens or animals to occupy the world. e.g. A scorpion creature might roam through the open deserts of your planet. An abominable snowman/bear hybrid could live in the ice caves of your planet.
Another popular design choice for planets is toxic wastelands or fiery hellholes. Immediately, it should be obvious that no life form could inhabit these kinds of world, but this doesn’t mean no-one is living there. You could build massive domed cities to keep the inhabitants same from the deadly fumes, or a labyrinth of interconnecting bubbles which come together to create a community.
You could also leave these planets uninhabited by humans or familiar organisms which appear elsewhere in your universe, but throw in a monstrous, highly dangerous alien which craves the meat of people. e.g. Alien.
The third common choice is city planets. These are planets totally covered in huge cities, usually at the seat of an empire or nation. There are several standard variants of this type such as the water-city planet (A planet covered in sea which supports an array of buildings, usually quite wealthy), the toxic-city planet (see paragraph 6) and factory planets. Of course there are endless possibilities, but these are some of the more frequent designs that I see regularly.
Finally, I thought the Jungle/Forest planets needed their own section because of their diversity. Jungle planets are most effective if you want a huge variety of colorful, weird creatures. There is also often a predator lurking in the bushes somewhere, but sometimes they just turn out to be little annoying bear things (Star Wars).
Overall, no-one can dictate how you make your worlds, and you can combine any of these or others to create a unique, fascinating planet for your characters to visit.
Check my blog tomorrow for another post about Civilizations.