I'm really glad I'm as into this idea as I am or I would have gone mad long ago. Some folks say I'm nuts to even be doing this, so I'm not sure the application of sanity to what I'm doing is relevant any more.
Between the real job and this, I'm working two full time jobs, one that pays the bills and the other that sucks the money away from them. Well, actually, I work a full time job and live the other one. Rise of Æster pretty much consumes the rest of my life.
Much of the time that is eaten up in my life by this project is being funneled into making the St. Louis City of Light a living, vibrant place. This is the place our story and games will take place initially and, as such, it needs to be as fully fleshed out as possible.
Since the cities of light are built by initially stripping the ruins of their predecessor, it allows us to build what we want with the appropriate Steampunk flair about it. Historically significant structures will be left in place because the people that build these cities make decisions having to do with maintaining the historical context of a city. For instance, when we begin developing the London City of Light, the London Bridge, Big Ben, etc. will be left in place while other structures of historical significance might be sacrificed. Likewise in Paris, the Eiffel Tower would be left behind along with Notre Dame, but other places will be torn down for parts.
The cities of light exist as concentrators and industrial hubs. St. Louis is the gateway to the Great Mississippi bay and thereby the Caribbean. So, a tremendous amount of traffic in materials and finished goods passes through there. Rail cars are offloaded onto ships bound for British possessions in the Aureus, airships are loaded with cargo from ships that they will carry to the Denver City of Light, etc. A massive industry in meat, hides, leather and fur goes on in St. Louis as hunters bring their goods in from the darkness of the central plains. Dyers, weavers and clothiers run another huge section of the city as yard goods and materials come in by ship to be turned into clothing and finished goods which are then distributed by ship, rail and airship. Spinners and weavers turn fiber from the heavy fur bearing animals living in the dark and cold into thread and cloth for local use and export. Massive smelters and remanufacturing facilities turn materials brought into the city by the Scavenger Guilds into new iron and steel construction materials, reclaimed brick and everything from new radiators to glass windows and spectacles.
Outside the city walls enormous farms occupy the areas outside. These gigantic green houses grow all the staple foods for the city. Unlike the city itself where the lights never go out, you can tell the time of day by which of the farms are lit. The plants would die if they were not given periods of darkness and so various farms are dark at different times. Specially bred and trained raptors hunt through these green houses policing them to prevent rodents from gaining a foothold; owls and hawks call out from their rooks in the upper clerestories of these buildings.
We will be posting some of the initial City of Light and Aeroplex sketches soon so that you will be able to see what we are working on and the development of the ideas as we go on.