Today’s big Avarthrel project was about getting grips of OpenLayers. I was surprised by the fact that taking my map and turning it into an easy-to-use scrollable thing was actually rather painless… as long as you remember to mention to the program that “hey, this map represents a… hum… flat-projected area from (0,0) to about (1629900,1225800) meters, give or take. I’m not a top-notch geographer, dammit.” Actually getting the map to the web site would take some tiny effort on the template side - so I’ll roll it out once the map is, shall we say, more interesting. Currently, you can just look at the map and adore the pixelated pixels by zooming in…

And thank goddess that I could actually just tell OpenLayers “the map is flat and it’s about this big, deal with it.” The annoying part of most software I’ve thought of using for assistance in world-building is that they tend to assume a lot - mostly a) that the user is an expert of the field or b) that you’re using this program in Earth using modern forms of measurements.

I’m not super-good with geography - just recalling stuff from the school - so if the software would have wanted, say, exact coordinates where this map is from, I would have needed to seriously brush up my mathematics. (Let’s see… I’ve usually figured Anchorfall would have been around the same latitude as, uh, say, Helsinki, so that’s about 60 degrees north, right? OK, given that, how the heck do I convert this particular rectangle to degree coordinates? scribble scribble scribble headache)
Earth and Earth-like measurements can be a problem, too. In case of Avarthrel, I just skirted a lot of problems by noting that, by amazing coincidence, the planet is just about the same size as Earth and the year has the same number of days… and even more amazingly, the currently predominantly used calendar corresponds to Gregorian calendar, so my perpetual calendar applications actually work. But the same can’t be said about the previously used calendars: Using the Imperial and Elven calendars needs some handwork to figure out the corresponding year. Now, how do I specify dates in those weird calendars in some of the programs I have at hand?
No, really?
For example, I’m using Storybook to manage the novel I’m writing. It can tell me that, oh yes, there’s a revolution in my story, and it occurred one beautiful Saturday. (Or, er, Trinsday.) Easy enough. But the makers of Storybook make one big assumption here: Not everyone keeps time the same way. I can hardly blame them: it’s not their fault that the author could decide that this particular world used different sort of a timekeeping system. The alternatives would be to allow free-form date entry (thus losing all neat functionality associated with dates), or allow the user to specify the timekeeping system from ground up.
So in short, it’s pretty annoying to write fantasy (or SF, I guess): when the world doesn’t work like Earth, the software isn’t keeping up…