* If you are designing alien species or monsters, and want them to be realistic, you may find this website about different senses that animals have a good starting point. * Stuck for names? The random name generator can help. It features several sets of names (American, Hispanic, Chinese, etc) and even generates addresses and other personal information! I would not personally use it for major characters, but it surely helps fill out the ranks of extras until you decide on better names, if ever. * Charlie Jane Anders posted some thoughts on character design, which are probably not revolutionary but worth reading anyway. * Tom Patterson is providing free, high quality shaded relief maps.
Call me stupid if you want, but I never realized that Inkscape actually had connectors for shapes, and that you could thus create flowcharts and so on with it. I actually first tried to make the tree of life more artistic, but considering that it will change significantly as I introduce new creatures (and plants) I decided against wasting my time on that.
Alien Planet is another example of “professional” world building, similar to The Future is Wild. However, unlike that show, Alien Planet is set on a world in another star system. It depicts a robotic mission of exploration to this planet.
Someone actually uploaded the thing to Google Video. Enjoy:
Personally, I feel that a lot of the creatures showing here seem a little far-fetched… however, I am still not a zoologist or botanist and thus can’t really say. Anyway, it makes for an entertaining 90 minutes.
The Future is Wild was a joint production of Discovery Channel, ORF and ZDF television corporations. It depicts three scenarios for the future evolution of life on Earth, set at 5, 100 and 200 million years in the future.
While there has apparently been some criticism of the scientific validity of the show, it’s still a pretty well-thought out design for the possible future evolution of life on Earth. And even if not everything is accurate – I am not in a position to have an opinion on this – it certainly sounds plausible and fairly consistent. Overall, The Future is Wild can serve as a pretty good source of inspiration for the aspiring world builder; especially since they explain why they designed the creatures in the way they did. Highly recommended.