An interesting micro-talk has been added to the event schedule since my initial preview post.
On Saturday at 3.30 there will be a micro-talk describing The Charon Continuum. Continuum creator Dominic Archer will explain more about the project, but from I can gather they are looking to create a community-owned universe that all sorts of creatives can work in.
What interests me with this idea is that my view of space-opera sci-fi is based on Harry Harrison, Star Wars, Strontium Dog and the RPG Star Frontiers. Trying to write in a universe like that does seem to suggest you need to lock down and define some of this stuff before you can worry about your storyline. This may sound like an excuse to not get started or a beautifully coloured revision plan that takes longer to produce than you have time to revise (been there, done that, though in my day it was on paper not in Excel!). However does your universe use hyperspace, FTL, stasis (a la Aliens), warp speed or something else? Are there multiple intelligent alien species (Star Wars), just a handful (Star Trek), or are they all descendants of human colonists (Aliens)? Is there a federation vs the bad guys (Star Trek) or are the bad guys in charge (Star Wars)? Are there droids like Star Wars? Is there a force? Laser blasters, ion cannons or gauss rifles? Are you starting to see what I mean?
However in a community you can create a lot of this a lot quicker as well as been influenced and inspired by others. Of course The Charon Continuum may not be anything like the multiple references I made above, but if we share a similar vision it may be an interesting project to contribute to.
Find a better description of what they’re attempting to do at http://charoncontinuum.wordpress.com/