Hello everyone! An important aspect of worldbuilding in a fantasy or sci-fi setting is often the planet itself. We’ve collected a few resources to help you out.
Create Your Solar System
Depending on your genre and story, you might want to start big – with a whole solar system. Roll for Fantasy’s solar system creator lets you generate random solar systems or create your own. You can choose the star type, planet type and place your planets where you like. The advantage to the randomizer is that is generates planetary day and orbit time automatically; you will have to decide and calculate yourself in custom mode. The model doesn’t show relative orbits, though.
StarGen requires a download but seems to be quite variable.
If you have some time on your hands, you can try out Starchitect. It lets you set some base parameters and watch as your solar system evolves at a rate of a million years a minute.
Create Your Planet
Now that you know what your solar system looks like, you can get started on your planet. Assuming it’s earth-like, you’ll want to generate some planetary maps.
Donjon is a fractal map generator that will give you a whole planet. You can change some of the settings, but not define individual countries. It’s really pretty!
If you’re looking for a political map, try Azgaar Fantasy Map Generator. You can define countries, but also military, economic and religious factors. It’s less pretty but amazingly variable.
Finally, if you already know what your world looks like and want to make a nice visual of it, try Inkarnate. You can place elements such as mountains and forests yourself, set towns and cities… There is a free and a paying version.
What does this mean for your writing?
When working with sci-fi, the solar system generators can be a fun tool for figuring out (or letting a randomizer figure out) what kind of star our heroes are orbiting, how many planets are in a system, how many moons they have and how long it takes them to orbit their sun.
In a fantasy setting, the type of sun is not usually quite as important, though if you know the science behind them they can affect your world and society in interesting ways. But orbital length (how long is a year?), spin (how long is a day?),axis tilt (what are the seasons?), number of moons can add interest to your story.
That doesn’t mean you need to do all that. Unless you describe it otherwise, readers will assume an earthlike planet: yellow sun, one moon, 365 day year and 24-hour day, with climatic conditions similar to our planet. You can still have fun making or generating maps and deciding what the ecology of each region will look like and how it influenced the borders of the various countries.
Or just set everything in one little provincial town… But urban worldbuilding is for another post!
Check out more resources on space travel, clothing, food and more at the Library of Eclectic Knowledge on this site!
Do you have more resources you would like to share with other writers! Contact us through the Contact page or write to fockesonia(a)gmail(dot)com!