Flat Erf Theory

Speculation, discoveries, complaints, accusations, praise, and all other Erfworld discussion.

Flat Erf Theory

Postby Lilwik » Wed May 29, 2013 1:39 am

One of the biggest differences between Erfworld and Stupidworld is that Erfworld is made of hexes, and hexes cannot tile a sphere. They also cannot tile a cube or a pyramid or any other shape that you could imagine floating in space and orbiting the sun. This means that hex-spacing of Erfworld is more than just unusually regular geography; it also directly implies that the geography of Erfworld is profoundly strange in some way.

Either Erfworld stops somewhere at some kind of edge, like a cliff that drops off into nothing, or else Erfworld goes on forever with infinite geography and probably infinite cities, sides, and fighting. The fact of hex geography offers no other possibilities and unless there are infinite Titans or the Titans spent infinite time working on Erfworld, there are probably oceans that allow you to sail off the edge if you explore too far. Or perhaps it would make more sense for the edges of the world to be hidden by impenetrable mountain ranges so that no Erfworlders actually need to face the horror of seeing the place where their world just stops.
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Re: Flat Erf Theory

Postby wih » Wed May 29, 2013 2:53 am

Interesting theory, but you're assuming euclidean space. Could just loop around without having to have a physical representation looking at all space simultaneously. Remember Erf doesn't have an objective location of celestial bodies, and so doesn't need to have the same space in the same time for the same place. Erf could very easy have a defined limit of space that had the borders loop back to their opposite border without breaking any suspension of disbelief, or known rules. Alternatively, the hexes could have slight angles at the edges (ie the bottom of the hex is slightly smaller than the top of the hex), which could possibly allow for a planet-shape.
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Re: Flat Erf Theory

Postby mortissimus » Wed May 29, 2013 3:29 am

Could be a tube, like in civilization. East links to west. In absolute north and south there is ice. Or, if you can travel on ice, an unbroken mountain range.

Since time is relative to actions, and everybody has their turn in the day, I doubt Erf is rotating around a sun. More likely a global day/night schedule with the sun always visible in the sky in daytime (except in cloudy hexes).
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Re: Flat Erf Theory

Postby Beeskee » Wed May 29, 2013 6:23 am

It's possible that Erfworld is any given shape, or none at all. I don't think there's any canon on the subject. The flat maps they use in-world seem to be accurate enough for warfare, at least. Tho that's probably easier when your world is literally divided into hexes.
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Re: Flat Erf Theory

Postby MarbitChow » Wed May 29, 2013 7:39 am

(See page 12.) Introduce a limited number of pentagons into the equation, and you can tile a sphere with hexes.

These pentagon zones could be zones with unusual properties, where normal hex rules don't seem to apply in the same way.

Like, say, the Magic Kingdom, whose borders we've never seen.
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Re: Flat Erf Theory

Postby Doctor Foreman » Wed May 29, 2013 8:07 am

The thing I wonder the most about Erfworld is why everyone is so ignorant of Erf geography.

Hypothetical Model of How Erfworld Works:
1. The Magic Kingdom consists of a single hex - or, to put it another way, units can move from any point in the Kingdom to any other point without expending move.
2. Portal Park links all capital portals.
3. All sides have a capital city, and all capital cities have a portal.

If the above are correct, then why are most Erf sides not apparently a lot more enlightened about their geography? Casters of all sides can interact with one another in the Kingdom, and sides without casters are likely to hire them. You would think that it wouldn't be too difficult for the Magic Kingdom to eventually build up a fairly complete picture of all of the explored Erfworld through word of mouth and trade of information.

Possible Reasons No One Seems to Know Much about Erf Geography
1. Revealing map information violates MK neutrality. (Difficult to enforce.)
2. Revealing map information is considered Disloyal by the world rules, or extremely risky. Even allies do not share maps, and map information is destroyed or unrecoverable when a side falls. Given the kinds of things sides are willing to do for one another in Book 2, though, one wonders.
3. They are well-informed, they just don't talk about it enough for us to have seen a good map of the area. Though one wonders about how most sides are pretty out of their depth here - the Archon says Charlie has significantly better geographical information than most sides.
4. Any of the premises of the hypothetical model above are false (the MK is itself large and not fully explored; there are multiple Portal Parks; not all sides have portals, etc.). Though it seems somewhat reasonable to take them as true for now.
5. Most or all sides originated in the same area: dimishing schmuckers means there was never much incentive to explore beyond a certain range and/or when sides colonizing remote areas fell, their map info was lost and the areas were slow to be re-explored. Of course in theory a barbarian warlord could pop anywhere and a capital site could be found anywhere, but Fate may bias the distribution in favor of a certain central area or point.
6. Mapmaking technology is extremely limited. (Probably not true. If units can write, they can probably draw. At worst, there's probably a lot of cheap map-like magic items crafted by Lookamancers, Findamancers, Foolamancers, or Signamancers going around. And I feel like the RCC had a map at some point?)
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Re: Flat Erf Theory

Postby mortissimus » Wed May 29, 2013 9:01 am

Or discussing maps and geography is considered and boring and bad manners in the MK.
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Re: Flat Erf Theory

Postby Lilwik » Wed May 29, 2013 9:35 am

Doctor Foreman wrote:4. Any of the premises of the hypothetical model above are false (the MK is itself large and not fully explored; there are multiple Portal Parks; not all sides have portals, etc.). Though it seems somewhat reasonable to take them as true for now.
We actually have a pretty good idea of what the Magic Kingdom looks like from Book 1 Page 11. It seems to be entirely contained in a single hex, though we can't rule out the possibility that it exists in some different kind of place where there are no hexes, since I see no hex boundaries and it would seem to break some pretty fundamental rules if there were a way to get to the Magic Kingdom without going through a portal. Either way, the finite size of Portal Park strongly suggests that Erfworld has a finite number of capital sites.
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Re: Flat Erf Theory

Postby Doctor Foreman » Wed May 29, 2013 9:55 am

Lilwik wrote:
Doctor Foreman wrote:4. Any of the premises of the hypothetical model above are false (the MK is itself large and not fully explored; there are multiple Portal Parks; not all sides have portals, etc.). Though it seems somewhat reasonable to take them as true for now.
We actually have a pretty good idea of what the Magic Kingdom looks like from Book 1 Page 11. It seems to be entirely contained in a single hex, though we can't rule out the possibility that it exists in some different kind of place where there are no hexes, since I see no hex boundaries and it would seem to break some pretty fundamental rules if there were a way to get to the Magic Kingdom without going through a portal. Either way, the finite size of Portal Park strongly suggests that Erfworld has a finite number of capital sites.


I was thinking it could be the case that there are other landmasses not in the immediate vicinity which are accessible by flying or water-borne units.

Another thing is that Portal Park might only contain portals which have been active at some point - as in, if a capital site has never been claimed, it has no corresponding archway in Portal Park, and the archway only forms once the site is claimed for the first time. In this way, Erfworld and the number of capital sites could conceivably be infinite as long as the number of sides is finite (which seems an unlikely combination, I admit).
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Re: Flat Erf Theory

Postby MadZuri » Wed May 29, 2013 10:22 am

Hexes can tile a toroid, and it would loop both north/south and east/west.
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Re: Flat Erf Theory

Postby Doctor Foreman » Wed May 29, 2013 10:41 am

MadZuri wrote:Hexes can tile a toroid, and it would loop both north/south and east/west.

Neat. Reminds me of Sigil. (Epileptic tree: Charlie is the Lady of Pain!)

That just raises some really weird questions about how sunlight works, though...I guess we'd have to conclude that the Sun is not a single body but in fact a discrete lighting system for each hex, or something. Either that or there is just no point in human minds attempting to understand Erf physics.
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Re: Flat Erf Theory

Postby MadZuri » Wed May 29, 2013 10:53 am

Well, we know that time flows differently for each hex, but if it didn't, there would still be a way to observe a sun rising and setting. Place the light source in the middle, and "twist" the toroid.
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Re: Flat Erf Theory

Postby Doctor Foreman » Wed May 29, 2013 11:03 am

MadZuri wrote:Well, we know that time flows differently for each hex, but if it didn't, there would still be a way to observe a sun rising and setting. Place the light source in the middle, and "twist" the toroid.


That still creates a couple of absurdities.
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Re: Flat Erf Theory

Postby MadZuri » Wed May 29, 2013 3:26 pm

Doctor Foreman wrote:
MadZuri wrote:Well, we know that time flows differently for each hex, but if it didn't, there would still be a way to observe a sun rising and setting. Place the light source in the middle, and "twist" the toroid.


That still creates a couple of absurdities.


Oh, no doubt. Absurdities such as each hex changing size as it moves about the surface, bigger on the outside (night) and smaller on the inside (day). Certainly no more or less absurd than time itself flowing independently in each hex. So why not the scale of space itself as well? I never claimed it was true, or even plausible, just that it is a possible explanation.
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Re: Flat Erf Theory

Postby Shai_hulud » Wed May 29, 2013 3:57 pm

The hexes on the inside wouldn't distort if the torus was 4D would they? Or would the torus have to be non-euclidean too?
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Re: Flat Erf Theory

Postby raphfrk » Wed May 29, 2013 5:00 pm

Shai_hulud wrote:The hexes on the inside wouldn't distort if the torus was 4D would they? Or would the torus have to be non-euclidean too?


It's not like a game like Civilisation has to worry about the "actual" shape of the world. Once you go West far enough, you end up crossing to the East of the board.
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Re: Flat Erf Theory

Postby Spruce » Wed May 29, 2013 5:42 pm

Ansom used coordinates on book 1, the question is: are those coordinates relative to Ansom, or to the origo of Erfworld?
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Re: Flat Erf Theory

Postby SteveMB » Wed May 29, 2013 6:55 pm

There Is Insufficient Data For A Meaningful Answer.

The nature of Erfworld seems to be such that there's no "real" answer in a real-world sense. It can't be answered the way we figured out that the Earth is round in reality -- the sun's movement follows rules that have nothing to do with consistent geometry, and the stars are probably just a constant backdrop (since there's no reason in game terms for them to be anything more). Even if it's known that continuing to travel along a line of hexes will wrap around, that could just be videogame physics that has nothing to do with actual three-dimensional shapes.

In any case, it seems to be the sort of question that an Erfworlder would dismiss as pointless -- if it mattered, there's be a kind of unit that popped with the knowledge or it would spontaneously appear in the city library.
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Re: Flat Erf Theory

Postby Lilwik » Wed May 29, 2013 7:28 pm

SteveMB wrote:Even if it's known that continuing to travel along a line of hexes will wrap around, that could just be videogame physics that has nothing to do with actual three-dimensional shapes.

Actually, if we ever got to see a global map of Erfworld then the truth of the matter would surely be obvious. It's not just a metaphysical thing; it directly impacts the way geography works on Erfworld. I'm sure Erfworlders wouldn't consider it pointless to know that somewhere nearby Erfworld stops, or that Erfworld is infinite. If Erfworld is a torus then that would radically change the meaning of a global map, since you would be able to get to the south by going far enough north.
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Re: Flat Erf Theory

Postby SteveMB » Wed May 29, 2013 9:20 pm

Lilwik wrote:
SteveMB wrote:Even if it's known that continuing to travel along a line of hexes will wrap around, that could just be videogame physics that has nothing to do with actual three-dimensional shapes.

Actually, if we ever got to see a global map of Erfworld then the truth of the matter would surely be obvious. It's not just a metaphysical thing; it directly impacts the way geography works on Erfworld. I'm sure Erfworlders wouldn't consider it pointless to know that somewhere nearby Erfworld stops, or that Erfworld is infinite. If Erfworld is a torus then that would radically change the meaning of a global map, since you would be able to get to the south by going far enough north.


Another possibility occurs to me that might render the whole thing moot -- if the land mass(es) of Erfworld have a surrounding ocean, the hex system might not work the same way for sea travel. It might be similar to a game that is primarily focused on land warfare with sea travel tacked on: it takes such-and-such an amount of water-unit move to sail between Point X and Point Y, and a unit with insufficient move is either generically "on the sea" (nowhere in particular) until its next turn or perhaps can't sail at all. Under such a system, Erfworld could be mapped as a flat world even though its "real" shape could be almost anything.
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