Wednesday, 30 January 2008

ITW: Maritime Flag system & Steampunk Communication

In The Works (ITW) -

Fly those colours!

The Imperial Navy of Caledon is hosting an aethernetical manual, Flags and Pennants of the Principal Maritime Micronations of the Metaverse, where national flags, Man-of-Wars, other flags are displayed for easy reference.
In addition to these, there is a suggested system for signal pennants, allowing vessels to show which combat system it is using, with emergency and condition pennants.

Please note that it is preliminary and still not all that official.

Apart from proper navies, you can also find flags or insignias of fleets, military or par-military organisations, and ay caramba, pirates! (The Imperial Navy of Caledon takes the right to enforce Rule Number Four in the Rules of Engagement for the Imperial Navy, the Rule of Piracy).

So this is also a call to our fellow mariners and sailors of the metaverse. If you have a maritime organisation, or a maritime arm of a military organisation, please feel free to send me a texture of it inworld. Please attach information about the organisation's name, location, etc.

Same goes for a future project in the manual. There are several veteran pirates out there, sporting (or flaunting) their own versions of Jolly Rogers, Jolly Rachels, etc. We are planning on a particular section for notorious pirates, so send us your feared flags, and we'll list them.
We may even add a special note for pardoned pirates, keeping the list and flags for "historical purposes".

Aetherical communication

Also in the works is a system of communication through electromagnetic radiation, later known as "radio waves".
The apparatus is being developed for the sister organisation of the Imperial Navy, Royal Caledon Air Force in co-operation with skilled aviation scripters. The system itself is basically finished, and currently a steampunk, tesla (or coal, you can always rely on coal) powered design to harness and host the powers is "in the works".
When finished, I will post more information here.

Personal Note

Yes, again, it's been some time since I last updated this log. Not for lack of anything happening, on the contrary. I just never seem to get the time to sit down and write here. When it comes to the more "ambitious" aspects of blogging, I am very good at procrastinating.
Less ambitious, more on the spur of the moment notes and entries can be found in my personal notebook, though I'm afraid they are most likely of less interest to the wider audience.


Otenth Paderborn said...

I'm so glad to see the naval pages develop. Thank you for your efforts!

If I may be so bold, since the page of flags is so clearly labeled as still a draft, I suggest that the point of a Caledon man-of-war flag should be immediately apparent to the casual observer. The cognoscenti and those involved in friendly competitions don't, most of the time, require any insignia at all.

The Caledon man-of-war, while a lovely design that plays well with the standard Caledon flag, is not, in my opinion, obvious enough. Unless one looks closely, it looks more like an entirely separate creation than a derivative of the Caledon flag--indeed, it looks most like a derivative of the Union Jack. The weapons systems pennants are excellent, being very strong graphically, easy to see at a distance, and relate to the information they are meant to convey.

At the informal meeting at Ormsby Hall (at which were the Guvnah, Lady Darkling, and the Primbrokes), when the idea of a man-of-war came up, what was discussed was a Caledon flag with the addition of a very obvious mark. Those informal comments were, no doubt, lacking in scope and imagination, but the intent was, in my opinion, good: It should be easy to see that the Caledon man-of-war is 1) Caledonian and 2) distinguishable at a glance from a peaceful or pleasure craft. If the flag can be designed to be effective in a small texture file, so much the better for quick loading (and therefor high visibility).

I do hope that you will accept my comments as those of a friendly outside eye; I certainly do not mean to be critical.

Yrs, &c.

Otenth Paderborn

Sin Trenton said...

First of all, trust me, no offense or anything, after all, we want a discussion :)

I agree with your opinion on the design of the Man-of-War and its clarity.. or lack thereof.

Also, the Nautical flag has the same problem, basically. The anchor is very nice, but overall it is not distinctive enough to be easily separated from the state flag.

One alternative would be to use an ensign, based on the Royal Navy.
Middlesea Fleet already copied the basic concept of the Navy's White Ensign (albeit defaced). Even undefaced, that would not be distinctive enough to separate us.
The Scarlet Ensign is used by the merchant navy and the blue by the state.

In order to not completely bluecopy the RN, one alternative could be to have a similar flag as the Royal Navy ensign, but with a green colour, perhaps even defaced with a distinct white mark at the centre.
At the same time, this mark must not only have enough contrast, but also be "thick" enough, so it is still visible, even from a distance.

Look at the ensigns in Wikipedia (link below) and picture it some other colour than white, red or blue, e.g. green or golden yellowish and Caledon's tartan in the canton (the upper corner next the staff).

Deface: To put a mark or insignia on an ensign flag.
For example, Australia is using the State flag (Blue ensign), defaced with the Southern Cross and the Commonwealth Star.

Hotspur O'Toole said...

Kudos for picking up on that one, Sin. :-D The middlesea flag is indeed a defaced version of the RN's old maritime ensign. I wanted a recognizable link with something traditional, and what could be more traditional than that?

Also, not to nitpick but the MF "national ensign" is the same as the Imperial Fleet's national ensign, e.g., the Flag of Caledon. We both live in Caledon, both patrol Caledonian national waters.

I agree with Otenth on the imperial navy man-o-war, It looks suspiciously like the UK union jack from a distance.


Sin Trenton said...

Yes, Hotspur, the Middlesea Fleet's non-combative ensign should be the same as the rest of Caledon. Perhaps it is not clear in the lay-out of the page.
I have made a picture explaining the lay-out and the idea of the structure.
If you look at it, you will see as the header is the nation, in our case, the State of Caledon.
The left side shows all non-combative flags/ensigns, etc and the right side the combative ones, the Man-of-Wars. This means that any vessel not engaging in combat, either for the day or permanently, can and should fly the flags to the left, be it the State flag or the "Caledon Nautical", regardless of which area in Caledon they originate from.
The right side is for the combat vessels, including local variations.
So instead of repeating the State flag (and the Caledon Nautical) beside the Middlesea Fleet, the whole section under the header should be seen as one.

Just to clarify further, while the Caledon Man-of-War is still under discussion, this means that the old "Black Bunneh" of the Imperial Navy is considered to be an insignia, rather than a flag itself. It can decorate the bow above the name, etc. This was actually put forward to by Admiral Wind in October 2007, when the Caledon nautical was presented. This was to replace the "Black Bunneh" as the main colours of a naval vessel.

I hope this clarifies. :)

Otenth Paderborn said...

Thanks for your explanations!

As to Hotspur's comments and your reply, I think the layout might be clearer if the Caledon Nautical (which I do not recall ever seeing) were moved to the bottom of the Caledon section.

And, while I'm commenting on layout, I suggest adding a column to your table and putting all textual commentary in the rightmost column. Then the national flag of Caledon may be seen more clearly to apply to everything below until Winterfell. I would also consider making the national headline left-justified (as with the page headline) rather than centered. I think that as the eye runs down the left margin the divisions will be clearer. Perhaps even an hr tag between nations.

I have a flag for Orcadia (the sim of Wyre) which I would like to give you for the directory, if you would let me know how best to deliver it.

Sin Trenton said...

Originally, I had 3 columns, with comments in the rightmost. It became a bit tight, though, since I still do not rule out that people have 800x600 resolution screens (practical experience from my RL work). But I got an idea I would want to work with.
Moving the Caledon Nautical to the bottom is a good suggestion as is moving the national headline. I will also see if I can't make it more distinct.
There is a hr tag between the flags to separate the non-combative and the combative flags flags from each other, but a hr between the nations, will test that too.

Problem (or the joy rather) with pages that are developing and growing is that sometimes they outgrow their original design. ;)

I am already planning on dividing the page in several, since I have also received a Man-of-War from Antiquity, and are expecting flags from notorious pirates to come in as well.

One suggestion would be to only have the State flags and State Man-of-Wars collected, for easier overview, and local variants, ensigns, etc, collected separately. Any thoughts on this, dear readers?
And maybe write a note about this manual in our Wiki. ;)

The flag for Orcadia would be wonderful to add. Easiest way is if you send me the flag as a texture with full permissions inworld. Please also let me know the proper dimensions and I GIMP it into shape. :)

Baron K. Wulfenbach said...

Herr Kapitan,

I see that the Guvnah passed to you the corrected Steelhead flag from the old copy he had on his page; might I also offer my gallery of flags?

They have all been rendered in a uniform 3:2 proportion merely for my convenience. You see I have also 'deformed' the flag of Orcadia in this manner - actually, it was the one easiest to convert due to its classical and clean design.

Steelhead is in the process of deciding on a naval flag - my staff herald, Fraulein Tanarian Davies, went rather mad when the subject was brought up and promptly buried a delighted Manager Eclipse in design submissions. There may be more news on this after tonight's Steelhead town meeting.

If no-one would object, I could also 'turn her loose' on the Caledon ensign, if you (and Guvnah Shang) might consider submissions for a redesign.


Klaus Wulfenbach

Sin Trenton said...

Sehr geehrt Herr Baron,

Thank you most kindly for the link to your gallery. I've been looking for Neualtenburg's as well as Antiquity's. Brython I have, and will upload tomorrow with a minor adjustment in the structure. We're getting a splendid collection of flags, so like I wrote earlier, I am testing if it wouldn't be better to only have the State flags and State Man-of-Wars collected, for easier overview togther and specialised flags under their own heading. Have a look and let me know what you think.

I was actually also wondering about Wulfenflag earlier, if it would not be suitable to have in the manual as well. What is your take on this, Herr Baron? (And other readers, of course).

I couldn't help smiling when I received the Orcadian flag, since my typist is of Nordic origin, even if living in the mountains of Central Europe nowadays.

"If no-one would object, I could also 'turn her loose' on the Caledon ensign, if you (and Guvnah Shang) might consider submissions for a redesign."

I am open for suggestions, though I will have to communicate with the Guvnah on this matter, since it was from him I originally received the flag, (the original artist being unknown to me). After all, he is the head of our state (and Admiral in our Navy), so he has to say his on this matter. ;)

But I will be sure to get back to you forthwith.

Yrs, u.s.w.

Sin Trenton

Otenth Paderborn said...

I couldn't help smiling when I received the Orcadian flag, since my typist is of Nordic origin, even if living in the mountains of Central Europe nowadays.

Heh. I looked carefully through wikipedia and various national and historical websites as I was creating that. Both the current official Orkney flag and the previous unofficial one use the
Nordic cross common to the Scandinavian flags. While color is a significant point of difference, I decided it would be good to reinforce Orcadia's eccentricity by using the 4:1 proportion.

Baron K. Wulfenbach said...

Sehr geehrt Herr Kapitan,

I just now noticed your question. The Wulfenbach badge on bleu-celeste is what is displayed on my airships, as you may see here. However, since I have no military here beyond the handful of Jägermonsters and Hauptmann Voom, including it in your list would be somewhat dubious in practicality. I leave it up to you, however - you may if you would like, and I appreciate the courtesy of the question.


Klaus Wulfenbach