So I've been asked, what are the works of fiction that most inspired The Black Desert? Seemed like a good topic to me...
...The truth of the matter is, I can't site many works of science fiction that influenced the design of The Black Desert. SF has always been a big part of my entertainment, but unlike most people that work on the “Hard” side of the SF scale, I'm not generally annoyed by the “Soft” end. For me, fiction is fiction, and I like fantasy, SF, and...did I mention SF?
The Black Desert got it's start in 2007 or '08, when I first discovered Winchell Chung's Atomic Rockets website, and from there the Rocketpunk Manifesto. I had always been a fan of Star Wars, Star Trek and other softer SF and had almost always gamed in those types of settings. That being said, the idea of making spacecraft that could actually exist began to grow on me, especially since I was a fan of TSR's old Buck Rogers RPG. So I began to doodle some rockets and do some research. The earliest of these efforts was a recreation of the Rolling Stone from Heinlein's fiction, if I recall.
|Yeah, this one.|
Between the two, rockets and Martians, I had enough Zeerust-y old Rocketpunk bubbling in the back of my mind that I did begin to flesh out an actual setting. I was thinking at the time of maybe writing some stories, or doing a webcomic (which I did do, briefly). The idea of making an entire universe was fun, albeit daunting, and I amused myself with the project in between work and classes. That right there is where is pretty much how The Black Desert got started.
There's much more too it, of course; after all, The Back Desert is a lot more that Rockets and Martians. I would have to say, once I decided to make a Hard SF setting, that most of my inspiration came from research on future tech and the like. Physycist Michio Kaku's TV series Sci-fi Science: The Physics of the Impossible was a big help, as was his other work. I studied videos, documentaries and other info from NASA on current space technology, especially the ISS. Info from the Mars Society help flesh out a lot of the ideas for Mars (obviously) as well as details for the Conestoga Rover. The Destiny Foundation was inspired by the efforts of Bigelow Aerospace and Space X; two space companies founded by billionaires that got rich just to develop space access. Personally, I think the influence of this kind of filthy-rich idealist hasn't been exploited enough in Hard SF, which is a shame.
My ideas for AI come from my own studies of the Human brain and neurology, once I discovered the unlikelyhood of consciousness evolving from current computer technology. The Dysonites and Trans-humans in general were simply products of wanting to do post-singularity fiction without making all the characters totally outre. The ideas for fabricators and their economic impact comes from the work of the Rep-Rap people and logical extrapolation.
The settings background history is pretty much stolen from the Interbellum period of the early 20th century. The American Expatriate movement, with Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Stein, et al. Is an exciting time from a social standpoint, and it's easy to make a future analog of the original Art Decco Rocketpunk aesthetic, once you scrape off the zeerust. A lot of the details are provided by a mixture of logic and lack of faith in human nature.
As for actual fiction, the idea of Brazil becoming one of the world powers I got from Heinlein, as well as a general love for Hard (if dated) SF. My original concepts for virtual worlds and their uses came from William Gibson. Surprisingly, not from his Sprawl series; from his anthology Burning Chrome and the Virtual Light series. I also did a lot of looking at the open-source universe on the web, Orion's Arm, which is Post-post-post-singularity SF. The sad thing is, there is not a lot of Hard SF available out there; most of the classics aren't sold in the popular stores anymore, and there are no used bookstores anywhere near where I live. I could order more books online, but at this point, I really don't have the time to read them!
While I'm not above
stealing borrowing ideas from anywhere, these are the influences and inspirations that most easily come to mind. Hope you enjoy the links!
Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a PDF to finish! See you tomorrow, RocketFans!