The Orion's Arm Universe Project Forums





OA, ST and SW: The Big Three
#1
Let's brainstorm how we can make Orion's Arm as well known as Star Trek and Star Wars (since it's better than both others put together).
SHARKS (crossed out) MONGEESE (sic) WITH FRICKIN' LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS
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#2
Well known to the common public? => Paid advertising and commercials.
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Quote: "Nature considers all the variables".
Quote: "the object and the theory are distinct things"
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#3
OA and those properties are incredibly different from a business perspective. OA is a business, we pay taxes and collect revenue, but we've never been commercially driven. We're a community, a worldbuilding hobbyist group. We've been able to focus on making the setting what it is because we aren't concerned about mass market appeal. ST/W are heavily driven by profit. Because of that the films, books, tv shows etc are not well made in terms of worldbuilding, they don't have complex storylines. They generally just focus on interesting CGI and action scenes. That's all.

If we seriously wanted to do that for OA we'd need a radically different business plan. Those of us who are on the company board would have to look into actually hiring staff, putting in production schedules, investing in publishing books, shows (animated or otherwise) etcetera etcetera. It would completely change what OA is. It would no longer be a welcoming site for those interested in a niche universe to come and enjoy and create. To make serious money we'd likely have to dumb it down for broad appeal.
OA Wish list:
  1. DNI
  2. Internal medical system
  3. A dormbot, because domestic chores suck!
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#4
Yeah- as Todd says, ST and SW are completely different from orions arm in the way they're set up. Star wars and star trek started off as the creations of professional writers/ directors whereas OA is a community and-thus far- a worldbuilding project first- not primarily driven by people who create a story for the project on a professional level.

When you say that OA is better than star wars and star trek you're comparing apples and oranges.

Now, it's entirely conceivable that some author could show up one day and decide to write a story set in OA that ends up being wildly successful (maybe the first draft of that story has already been written on the site!) but honestly I think it's more likely that any author who wants to actually make a living off their stories wouldn't actually use OA as the world for their story. A universe very similar to OA perhaps, but one different enough that they wouldn't be accused of stealing the work of this community while still benefitting from the use of general concepts like mcyndree cylinders and beamrider networks. I still think the most likely path for OA to become really popular would be for a writer, or group of writers, to write a series of really good books set in the OA universe, given how that's the path most other hard sci fi settings have taken. That really takes individual initiative though.


Also, the entire media landscape has changed radically since star wars and star trek were conceived. We definitely get to have great independent sci fi films like the martian and the arrival or book series/TV shows like the expanse but they're definitely working on a much more competetive playing field than in the 70s.
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#5
(01-31-2017, 02:00 AM)Rynn Wrote: To make serious money we'd likely have to dumb it down for broad appeal.
Or we can illustrate the masses. XD
I really like when a plot is well done. I like when a plot is coherent, not only fireworks.

(01-31-2017, 04:09 AM)Dfleymmes1134 Wrote: I still think the most likely path for OA to become really popular would be for a writer, or group of writers, to write a series of really good books set in the OA universe, given how that's the path most other hard sci fi settings have taken. That really takes individual initiative though.
Maybe a series of book that are character driven with protagonists that are nearbaseline or cyborgs / other modos / sophonts with a past. With adventure and romance set in OA. With humour and great quotes said by AI and Vecs.
I think people loves the character of "glaDOS" and is an Antagonist AI.

The stories also need Meistersingers being awesome. I love when a Meistersinger talks about something and say: "Discover it for yourself, i don't want to ruin you the fun of the discovery".
The slogan could be: "Meistersingers goes where no other sophont has gone before".
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Quote: "Nature considers all the variables".
Quote: "the object and the theory are distinct things"
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#6
So, various thoughts here...

In terms of making OA comparable to Star Wars or Star Trek in terms of size of the fanbase and genre - that would require resources we don't currently have. Not only money, but essentially people whose 'day job' would be creating such things. Or who at least had the resources and know-how to produce stuff such as some of the fan created extensions of the Star Trek universe that can be found on YouTube or such.

What would be potentially more doable would be to have a wider range of longer stories set in OA that could make it more accessible to a greater number of people.

The challenge with that is getting people to produce the stories. In terms of doing that, the big challenges we've historically faced seem to be:

a) People trying to drink from a firehose - OA is huge and, from our perspective of being able to see the 'big picture' of the whole setting - we often seem to have authors struggling to narrow things down to a place/time/set of elements to make a coherent story. People often try to fit every element of the setting into a single story, which is probably not doable unless you're prepared to produce a novel length work.

b) People trying to write OA fiction as if it were Star Wars or Star Trek type fiction - Both of these other franchises include elements that essentially allow them to practically commute across the galaxy - something OA doesn't really allow. Which mainly means we need to find a way to tell exciting/engaging stories that aren't predicated on being able to cross light-years in a matter of hours or in the course of a commercial break. I can think of various ways to do that, but it's a matter of coming up with a story to do it in. Which leads us to...

c) What to write about. A lot of our stories are currently 'daily life vignettes' rather than full on stories. Coming up with coherent stories that are interesting and also showcase OA can be challenging. From speaking with an author acquaintance of mine, not just in OA btw. A lot of writing groups do more talking about writing than actual writing it turns out.

That all said, I've been playing with some ideas that I'm hoping might help in this regard:

1) What if we were to set up one or several 'sandboxes' within the setting with the idea of people being able to write stories in them? These could be tiny subsets of the setting that are nevertheless big enough to fit one or several stories into. But their limiting parameters might (hopefully) avoid the 'firehose' issue.

2) Writing a story in series in which each of some number of people commit to do a chapter, continuing the story within an agreed upon framework, but also adding their own twists. This could take a fair bit of coordination, but might be fun to try. Or maybe write a story as a group - mapping out the plot, events, etc. together and one or more of us doing the conversion to a story.

3) Picking a single SF plot or theme (or some more general plot/theme) and then a bunch of us each writing a story within that plot/theme. So maybe something like 'exploring the unknown' or 'a detective story' or 'a love story' or 'an ancient evil awakes'. We could even get more explicit and say 'write an OA story with the plot/theme of The Lord of the Rings (half of all fantasy seems to do this already) or a Sherlock Holmes story or some such. Not a literal copy of the story of course, but the basic plot mapped into OA.

I'm also planning to add a number of author resources to the website this year to hopefully encourage more writing.

Anyway, my 2c worth,

Thoughts?

Todd
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#7
Totally agree on points a) b) and c) of Todd. Smile

Also, i like the idea of sandbox. I think that a site for fans or anyone that allows writing something about can be encouraging for people who may like OA. Maybe some people out there think OA is a closed community or is elitist or something like this.

If the Sandbox idea goes well, OA Board can establish a contest like "The best story of the Sandobox of the year earns the honor of being part of OA official stories".

But fan work are likely to be fantasy in space. Even people who want something real not knowing the numbers of Joules or Watts or Meters or some numbers or theories goes with a fantasy imposible in real life. Is posible too that some fans don't know OA Canon or a part, or some articles.

I like c 2) people making chapters. But i think differences of style and quality are common. But i like story series and if this is up, i want to collaborate in this.

C 3) sounds like a big project, like a novel or the like. That requires a lot time. I like the idea but i think people don't have the time.

I like the idea of the author resources to encourage writing. Big Grin
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Quote: "Nature considers all the variables".
Quote: "the object and the theory are distinct things"
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#8
(02-01-2017, 02:10 AM)Avengium Wrote: Also, i like the idea of sandbox. I think that a site for fans or anyone that allows writing something about can be encouraging for people who may like OA. Maybe some people out there think OA is a closed community or is elitist or something like this.

If the Sandbox idea goes well, OA Board can establish a contest like "The best story of the Sandobox of the year earns the honor of being part of OA official stories".

A first step would be to figure out some parameters for the Sandbox concept in general and then to come up with some number of sub-settings to go into it.

For example - I would propose (at least for the first round of this) that:

a) no Sandbox setting should be larger than a single star system (which could include more than one star).

b) things can enter the Sandbox setting from outside, but the story needs to take place in the Sandbox setting.

Likely other parameters as well - what other ideas do people have?

In terms of possible locations, I would suggest:

i) Miracle City - a xenosophont artificial planet

ii) A gas giant system with plenty of moons, which might be engineered in various ways, possibly bubblehab communities in the upper atmosphere, and/or a supraplanetary ring or the like.

iii) A medium to large hab such as a space ring or McKendree cylinder or maybe a discworld.

iv) Etc.

It might be good to come up with 6-10 possible Sandbox settings for people to potentially play in.

(02-01-2017, 02:10 AM)Avengium Wrote: But fan work are likely to be fantasy in space. Even people who want something real not knowing the numbers of Joules or Watts or Meters or some numbers or theories goes with a fantasy imposible in real life. Is posible too that some fans don't know OA Canon or a part, or some articles.

Not necessarily. Most hard SF in my experience says little or nothing about numbers. The trick with a hard SF story is to tell an interesting story while still being true to the hard science elements and not getting bogged down in numbers or infodumps.

As far as not knowing OA Canon or the articles - all of that information is readily available on the OA websiteSmile

(02-01-2017, 02:10 AM)Avengium Wrote: I like c 2) people making chapters. But i think differences of style and quality are common. But i like story series and if this is up, i want to collaborate in this.

Fair point - perhaps people could collaborate on the creation of the story (plot, setting, outline, characters, events) and then one person could write it up. Or a group could treat it as a challenge to either write in the style of one person or to each do a chapter/section and then work together to bring them all into harmony in terms of style and quality. Or something else along these lines.

(02-01-2017, 02:10 AM)Avengium Wrote: C 3) sounds like a big project, like a novel or the like. That requires a lot time. I like the idea but i think people don't have the time.

It would depend on the plot. One thing I rather wonder about is if a lot of SF fans are only exposed to long stories or movie series and so don't have a lot of experience with short stories or novellas. For example, Analog SF magazine does large numbers of short stories that deal with most common SF plots - and do it in a fraction of the story size of The Lord of the Rings. The Sherlock Holmes stories are all of short story or novella length - and they are quite interesting.

(02-01-2017, 02:10 AM)Avengium Wrote: I like the idea of the author resources to encourage writing. Big Grin

Yes - I have a few online resources already on my radar and plan to locate more and add them to the site as the year progresses.

ToddSmile
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#9
Great ideas Todd. I think is possible to do something like that.
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#10
I like the sandbox idea. I know that writing a mid sized story using the technique of excuisite corpse (link) can definitely produce some uneaven results. But i'd still love to try it out. The biggest artistic barrier i can think of though is trying to find cohesion, writing a story as a group, and making sure the story doesn't feel like a bunch of checklists written by a comittee, which really, can only be avoided by going ahead and writing it. . And seeing how well it goes... And then definitely be willing to do multiple drafts.

I think one important task would be to try to only worldbuild as necessary- as happened with m.ellis's storytelling[/url] process, or emailin's process http://www.orionsarm.com/forum/showthrea...8#pid29498
Or when writing "dirty hands" which I think went really well.

Definitely, all the basic components could be collectively brainstormed, then plots and characters inviolving those components are brainstormed, then divide up the first few scenes, chapters and try to write?
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