Altearth is a world.
The only evidence of Altearth’s existence is found on a map. However, The Map of Altearth has been divided into portions and distributed. The total number of portions is unknown.
If you have received a portion of The Map of Altearth, then you are a Steward.
Stewardship of Altearth is an ancient and mysterious task. One must understand and obey only the known Rules of Stewardship. The rest is up to the Steward and the Steward alone.
The Known Rules of Stewardship specify that a Steward must work within the established scale of the map. However, no other rules apply to the manner in which a Steward adds or removes information from a portion of The Map.
A Steward’s primary purpose is to build Altearth. This can and should be done in infinite ways.
Altearth is a wild world, continually created by its Stewards.
The back of your portion of The Map will look like this:
Once you have completed a Term of Stewardship, write your name and the dates of the Term in the space allotted. Then return your portion to the source.
Your portion will be recorded in the Altearth Archive before it is recirculated.
The Altearth Archive will be made accessible to all in the future.
Over a decade ago, I came across a video called Jerry’s Map. The short video tells the story of Jerry Gretzinger, an artist who has been creating a map of a fictional world for decades.
Jerry follows a complex set of rules to create his world. This seems to help him balance the act of creation with the emerging autonomy of the map itself. By following the rules strictly, Jerry is just as likely to determine the future of the world of the map as he is to be surprised by it.
Not a week has gone by since I first heard of it that I don’t think about Jerry’s Map — that I don’t want to experience for myself the same strange wonder he does.
Add to that my childhood obsession with SimCity.
As a nine-year-old kid, I played hours and hours of SimCity Classic. And as much fun as I had with the game, there was always one thing that bothered me about it: the speed.
The pace of time could be altered within the game, but the options were limited. You could pause time entirely, which was actually something of a cheat for the game that I used often. I wanted to perfect my city before the ravages of time ruined it. So I’d build, sometimes for hours, without a moment passing in the game.
You could speed time up considerably, accelerating “yearly” budget cycles — and the sometimes catastrophic cause and effect of them — to every minute or so.
But what you couldn’t do was run the game in realtime. That’s what I wanted from this game. I wanted to make small, incremental moves. I wanted to check in on my city the way I would a garden. I wanted to think about my choices and experience them play out with timing that would allow for more surprises.
Between my desire to make something like Jerry Gretzinger has made, and my lifelong desire for a slower SimCity, Altearth has been incubating in my mind for a long time.
I hope that we, as Stewards, can create a world that, in due time, surprises us.
If you would like to serve as a Steward, contact me.