Because 'Straight Outta Olduvai' seemed too glib. There are stories greater than those of individual men and women. There are sagas vaster than the histories of nations, that we so love to imagine and recount. This is not one of these tales, though I have no doubt that, in its telling, we shall encompass innumerable legends, timeless classics and petty dramas. This is the epic of mankind as a whole, from its humblest roots, to whatever unknown future awaits it. This is a story of cultures, nations of which are only ephemeral expressions. Let us paint a world together. Background This is not a NES that will focus on nations. It will not use different shades of grey to indicate 'civilized zones' or tribal peoples. Colours on this map will depict the presence of different human cultures. As a culture spreads out and loses contact with its different component parts, these colours may drift, but hue similarity will serve as a useful indicator of relative similarity. Conversely, two cultures living in close proximity may find themselves growing more similar, through the mutual exchange of goods and ideas. Nations, should they appear, will be marked with outlines of grey or black, and cities will be marked with dots, as is the standard for most familiar NESes. My inspiration for this NES comes from a few sources. One is Daftpanzer's Alternative Timeline Building Experiment, a fantastic experience where players were not nations, but rather, were guiding forces behind different cultures, from the dawn of civilization to a time eerily similar to the present day. We exerted control over our creations only loosely, and watched our cultures unfold across a span larger than any NES ever before. If I can create something half as epic and memorable as that particular project of Daft's, I'll be quite pleased. A secondary inspiration has been my recent habit of running observer campaigns of Crusader Kings II and Europa Universalis IV. I have enjoyed watching history unfold unpredictably over a millennium of free development. However, I have been frustrated with what I see as shortcomings of the system: namely the static, predictable 'blobbification' of cultures and the lack of dynamic population movements, interactions and developments. In this NES, I hope to make a reasonable attempt at portraying these things. Rules Orders will be very simple and should be posted in the thread. Your orders are broad pushes and guidelines, more so than strict orders. You might push a specific group of people in a new direction, brew a conflict, or simply sit tight and develop. You could think of yourself as the mystical gestalt behind a group of people, but you don't have to play the game that way. You can suggest natural boons or disasters, or flit around from place to place influencing events here and there. Like NESLife, you're not required to stay with your lineage for all time, but I suspect that many of you would like to do that, so do as you please. Keep in mind, however, to be considerate and aware of what other people have made. I reserve the right to change or disregard anything that seems too ridiculous, though I'll try to talk to you about it first, so that we can make this collaborative project work for everyone. Stories and extra details about your people, their ideas, practices, tribes, languages and faiths, will be very helpful, and I will try to incorporate as much as I can into my updates. The first few updates may encompass hundreds of thousands of years, but they will likely slow down over time, as people become more mobile and developed. It is conceivable that this process might revert, if we manage to lead civilization to ruin and humanity to near-extinction. We are starting off with a species that is effectively Homo erectus, with knowledge of simple stone tools and a rough handle on fire. For now, we are describing the earliest history of humanity, our emergence from the cradle of our species. In the coming hundreds of kiloyears, we may see the rise of the first broad branches in the human family tree. Some may be wiped out or subsumed, such as our own history's Neanderthals, others may evolve in parallel, such as the Flores Man. Perhaps we shall see a world where multiple hominins share the world, or perhaps one shall emerge supreme, at the expense of all others. Shall we begin? Update 0 The world is drying. The great forests have retreated, but humans have adapted to life on the ground. With bipedal locomotion, simple language for coordination and strong, tool-wielding hands, humans have proven more than able to thrive in conditions where other great apes have failed. Through a flexible mixture of hunting and trapping, human populations are on the rise. With greater population, however, comes greater competition for limited resources, driving some to war, and others to flight. Humanity will not rest forever in a cradle. Legend Dark Green: Tropical Light Green: Temperate Yellow: Arid Grey: Montane The area on the map is the current full range of the human genus. It is an area roughly the size of the continental United States. To the far north are tropical forests, the eastern region has temperate forest (as does the inland sea and several high-elevation areas in the southern mountains), and the yellow area is arid, ranging from dry forests to savanna to outright sandy desert, with the conditions growing more extreme the further west one goes.