Progress on Beta 1

Finally, sun lit my house too. We started writing the plot and ark of our game. Before that in the team there wasn’t much focus on storyline. However, now we have the arc.

The story line has been shaping very well – it is a dystopian futuristic space colony plot. The Earth has been left behind, along with all of its surviving citizens, and now has an enemy in the face of the galactic colony that started from the old world.
The characters are the Phoenix Empire, the space station manager, the player, the scientist from the old Earth, the radio broadcaster.

About 300 years ago on Earth there was a war that has unclear origins and sides, in which nuclear weapons were used that damaged the planet and its atmosphere. Moreover, because of the radioactive fallout big portion of the population died and the future of the living was marked by genetic mutations and famine. At that point humanity had advanced enough to have started slowly colorizing the near planets and had space home in the orbits of different planets. There were inhabitants of the space-home which had taken permanent space residency, but it was still an expensive way of living so they were only the chosen few. The story told to the citizents of the space nation about the happenings on Earth is that because humans were divided they fought against each other which brought destruction to the planet, made it uninhabitable and unescapable, so it is supposed there are no survivors. In reality the war wasn’t because of division on Earth. It started as a conflict between the powerful and rich inhabitants of space didn’t want to comply to the motherland’s law and didn’t want to share their extraterrestrial resources with the poorer population left on Earth, so the nation which started the galactic project helped them to wipe out the Earth and it’s population. Planning took years, the last valuable resources from Earth were taken to space and then masking it behind a political agenda they destroyed their brothers.
The Phoenix Empire is the new intergalactic human nation that has started from the orbital colonies around Earth. In the last 300 years they have been drifting away from the Solar System creating stations in further planets even galaxies. The government is run by computers with human intervention by a board of directors, chosen by the population every 10 years. After they left Earth, many were doubtful about the events on the planet, so the story about the divided humanity was fabricated by the then-people in charge in order to keep peace on the colony. Although, it is not a totalitarian government in charge and the free media is one of the major ways for the citizents to have a voice, the story about Earth echoes through time. With the advance of technology and civilization interest in the origins of the human kind wasn’t present. However, the newly elected government is worried that such interest can arise and thus decides to go back to Earth and finish what their ancestors have started by diminishing the planet.
The space station manager sends the player, or first human satellite on a pretend mission of space exploration that will be broadcasted and added to history books in the Empire. However, unknowing even to the manager, who is in contact with the player, there is a bomb attached to the spacesuit that is to be detonated once the destination Earth is reached. There is no knowledge available to the mission control and player that they are in the Solar System from which their kind originated.
In the orbit of Earth the player and the space station which is receiving the recording, see a satellite and hear a recording that is playing from it. The recording and the satellite are proofs that humans have survived on Earth and have continued to develop after the attacks. They also proof that they don’t know the attacks were organized by the colony and think that they have been left behind and are searching for the others if they have made it.
The player knows little of this in the beginning of his journey and has to go through challenges in order to get to the final destination – Earth. On the way he sees artificially created objects, which hint at the survival of the old world. Once he gets to Earth she/he starts to realise what is happening and recalls a speech made in the Empire about the origins of humanity and the old world and realizes that there is a discrepancy between the reality and the stories told. Then he there is a malfunction of the trajectory of his path and he uncontrollably starts going towards Earth’s atmosphere. Then there is a message that pops up and asks if he wants to detonate the bomb that will be the end of Earth.

GIS Day 2016 NYUAD

Maps are a representation of reality that are intense in information. You can see where and even when (?) things were and are.
When connecting two maps one observes the differences on the them. Often, the emphasis on a maps can range from detailed buildings to depiction of nature – water and topography, which allows you to understand:
1. About the aim of the map
2. Evaluate the accuracy of the map
3. Learn about the long term changes (in UAE’s case the changing coast) and so about the ecological impact of the development.
There is another way to use mapping out: in cases where you have addresses and information about the place. For example in NYUAD’s Akkasah Archive there is a large collection of photos with dates, locations and names – metadata – of photos of the Middle East: Egyptian, Emirati (possibly),Turkish Photo Studios and sometimes personal cameras. When you locate visually, in space the information from these pictures you can learn:
1. The locations are connected with the types of neighbourhoods.
2. Learn about people’s life: clothing, style, likes,
3. [A personal favourite] Individuals. Pictures paint a frame of a life and sometimes they can tell great stories. If it be a very open Egyptian lady on many photos or tourists who had pictures of the Olympics in 1963 and Hitler.
So developing maps of information that corresponds to actual space is another dimension of certain data. And I find it quite useful. For two reasons – it requires easy interactions with maps (which you learn) and allows me to understand the underlying conditions when making a map and using it to interpret information as it is what is depicted on the map that will be of importance.
In the mean time, I found myself having kept a number of maps of similar kind – tourist maps. As I travel around I realised that the only people who would possibly make any use of a paper map are the tourists. Because I know that I wouldn’t use one in my own city, although we also have these tourist maps, I know that there is something fundamentally wrong with these maps when it’s your own town. You care more about banks, about street names and numbers, and none of these cutely drawn cafes doesn’t have what you need.
However, I have found myself a tourist many times and each time those tiny, cute maps have been somehow useful because they have allowed me to study the interesting parts of the area so I can easily recall it and imagine it. When I come back to a city I just recognise the tourist attractions and destinations, and am able to estimate my location and orient around. For this I admire the people who choose which things to depict for doing it so well that I learned from it. This is the art of making maps; they are accurate representations of where we are or were that contain much more information. Showing information in the context that is desired by their use, which helps to then read it. Maps can show real scale of places and people.
In a Ted Talk Danny Dorling uses maps and the data which they represented to show a bigger picture, which we often lose from sight behind all of the bad news. Everything is going well for the Earth, a balance is being established in the population, governments are controlling pollution (especially in more dirty areas – Japan, USA), more and more people are getting educated and caring about Nature. We have enough income of food for everyone [I don’t know his views on diets] if we decrease the amount of meat we eat.

Maps represent more than we can actively see so they seem authoritative pieces of big truth [about big things “out there”]. But maps are someone’s interpretation of spacial information and the truth is arbitrary to the purpose of the map. They are not necessarily real as in “out there”; if Abu Dhabi was as big as shown on an map for a local bank had showed, nothing of such scale would be possible for the city. But they represent the things that are “out there” through a certain prism of need. And depending on the needs can be used for different marketing and targeting strategies, instead of spacial orientation. They are institutionally or personally motivated.