Category Archives: Terra

CD Cover Game #9: Cliffside

Here’s my latest entry to the CD-Cover game – I haven’t posted these in a while. And, before you ask: #8 is not missing, but the licensing of the base image I used changed so it’ll have to wait until I clear that up.

Cliffside: The Best Accessory
Cliffside: The Best Accessory

Original Art: Senales, by José María Pérez Nuñez; cc-by-nc.

From the looks of it, Cliffside is probably an “artsy” band…

My other CD-Covers:

Update, 2020-01-09: Ouch, that kerning! What was I thinking.

The City of Saint Brendan Sneak Peek

Here’s a little bit of a bonus and post scriptum for NaNoWriMo. I didn’t just design a fallout shelter, I also sketched out a city.

Saint Brendan, so named after St. Brendan the Navigator, is a large city located in the US State of Acadia. The city rose to prominence as a trade port after the discovery of the Northwest Passage and benefited greatly from the increase in trade with East Asia after the World War. It is New England’s largest city, with over six million people living in the metropolitan area. This makes Saint Brendan the fifth-largest urban conglomeration in the United States, before the Delaware Valley but less populated than the Dallas-Fort-Worth Metroplex.

Major industries are transportation, financial, and high tech. A large military presence secures the strategic location.

Destroyed Saint Brendan

Saint Brendan is an amalgamation of San Francisco, New York, and a few other cities. I decided to use a fictional city for several reasons:

  1. I don’t know New York personally, having never been there, and certainly do not know any other major US city intimately either. Potential readers would likely be more familiar with the setting than I and that is a problem. Using a fictional city frees me from the risk of making gross errors when describing the location.
  2. A fictional city gives me the freedom to arrange locations and other facts in a manner convenient to the story’s needs.
  3. It’s a great way to tell the reader “dude, this is not YOUR world“.
  4. I enjoy world-building. Duh!

I am a firm believer in recycling material, so expect Saint Brendan to pop up again in more detailed form.

CD Cover Game #7: Eryx Elegans

Here’s another attempt at the CD cover game:

Eryx Elegans, 'Run Away From Life'

I actually edited the photo in question this time; if you look at the original you will see a woman in the photo which really distracted from the composition:

Original Photo
Original Photo

Yes – it is quite easy to see the photo was edited, but after all this is not an exercise in forging photographic evidence 🙂

To critique my own work, the speech bubble is probably a little too dominant and the “band name” logo colors might not mesh perfectly with the rest of the image.

Original photo: Feliz 2009, by murilocardoso. Licensed cc-by-nc-sa.

CD Cover Game #6: Kryoneri

I needed another music group to refer to in my NaNoWriMo novel. It had to be something beachy, and hence, Kryoneri was born.

Kryoneri, 'Pleased with Themselves'

I cheated on the CD Cover game, and used one of my own photos. Searching flickr for a cc-licensed photo simply seemed like a waste of my time when I had a couple of appropriate photos sitting around. The one I used was taken on Bali.

Here’s the – admittedly fairly random – track list for the album:

  1. Legends of Bora Bora
  2. California Beach Queen
  3. Sand and Sun
  4. Memories of Coral Reef
  5. Sailing through Paradise
  6. Spanish Main
  7. Land of a Million Islands
  8. Surfing the Waves
  9. Torchlight Tranquility
  10. Bali Sunset
  11. Moon over Waikiki

Update: Version 2 of the cover.

Kryoneri, 'Pleased with Themselves' - Version 2

I like this 2nd one better, I think.

CD Cover Game #5: Brockville Park

I needed a band to refer to in my NaNoWriMo novel, and none of the ones I “created” for the CD Cover Game so far seemed to be appropriate. So I cheated a little on #5, and repeated the Wikipedia random thing until I had a band name that sounded like an alternative rock group.

Brockville Park, 'Even My Own Mother'

I kind of like the basic design. Someone should start making crossword puzzles based on hexagons.

“Even My Own Mother” is the debut album of local newcomer band Brockville Park’s, and its catchy beat has catapulted it top the top of the charts. Tracks:

  1. Voyage of the Navigator
  2. Saint Brendan City Blues
  3. When Worlds Collide
  4. Slaver – Hero
  5. Forbidden Candy
  6. Ballad of the Apple
  7. Even My Own Mother
  8. Go! (Away!)
  9. Melon Tree
  10. Sheltered
  11. M Stands For Witten
  12. The Price of Admiralty
  13. Fall Out Four The Rest Of Us (Bonus)

Original photo by Ecstaticist, cc-by-nc-sa.

CD Cover Game #4: Kolonia Zerechowa

Kolonia Zerechowa, the Polish African American rap group known for its biting social commentary, has released their latest album: Steal with good Judgment.

Kolonia Zerechowa, 'Steal with good Judgement'

The controversial album contains tracks critical of the Church, making numerous references to recent scandals and the Church’s violent history in the middle ages. The track “Wallet Salvation” openly attacks American television preachers. Religious groups across America have condemned the album as “lies” and its many sexual references as “sinful”. The band has reacted cooly to the complaints, stating that “the truth always hurts such people the most”.

Original photo by mikedefiant, cc-by-nc-sa.

Designing a Nuclear Fallout Shelter

What does a nuclear fallout shelter actually look like? I had no idea, and so I did some research. Wikipedia covers the basics, but what I was really after were floor plans.

Unfortunately, there seem to be only two types of solution: Tiny home shelters with space for a handful of people for a few days, and huge cold-war era billion dollar projects built to shelter entire governments. There are a few exceptions, medium-sized bunkers built by wealthy individuals, but there is very little information about them available. As for floor plans… I found for pretty much nothing.

So I resorted to what I always do when I can’t (or don’t want to) find the genuine thing, I made a nuclear fallout shelter up from scratch. Please note that this is not supposed to be a design that “could actually work”, it’s just a baseline to have a consistent setting for the beginning of my NaNoWriMo 2008 novel.

A private fallout shelter would have to sustain its occupant for a minimum of two days, which some authorities consider the earliest acceptable time to leave a shelter at all, and only for evacuation to safer areas. The fall-out shelter would remain closed for two to three weeks – it would still be used for sleeping afterwards, but it seems to be the consensus that working outside is safe after 2-3 weeks.

The shelter would be built underground to provide the best possible protection from radiation. It’s designed as a safe refugee and fall out shelter, and less as a blast shelter.

Here’s a very rough floor plan design for the nuclear shelter:

The scale is probably a little off, and with the beds being bunk beds, ie. for two persons each, the shelter’s maximum of 18 occupants may require larger space for storage and sanitary necessities. Since bigger bunkers are a lot more costly, the shelter would be still as small as feasible, and occupants will be expected to stay in their bunks a lot of the time.

The rooms are not very high – I assume 2m ceiling height at the most.


I am not entirely sure how such a fallout shelter would handle water storage and waste disposal. I am assuming it uses a septic tank to dispose of excrements. Packaging won’t pose a problem, because everything that is consumed in the shelter has to be stored in the shelter when it is sealed anyway.


For the water supply, the shelter would likely have a large water tank and/or a pump to drain water from underground sources. 18 adult males, staying in the shelter for two weeks, would require over 930 liters of water just for drinking. Showers use anything between 4 and 12 liters per minute. The military recommends a minimum of one change of uniform and one shower per week to maintain health.

Shower water can be recycled to an extent; not only for flushing toilets, but there are actually techniques where a part of water used to shower once is recycled and used instead of fresh water for the next shower. Let’s assume 10 liters of water for this purpose, per person and week. I am not sure how to quantify water for cooking, but presumably this could be very little by using MRE’s. In total this works out to less than two cubic meters of water for two weeks, if I made no big mistake in my assumptions. Two cubic meters is something you can comfortably store, even if you double the capacity for safety and luxury. Even with a pump / well, the bunker would still store several day’s worth of water at least to cover for emergencies.

Since this particular bunker is located in the outskirts of a large city I am assuming a well is not practical.

Nuclear Fallout Shelter

Entrances and Exits

The airlock pictured in the floor plan is not something I envision as a “true” space-ship type airlock, but rather a way to minimize contamination of the inside – if a single door opens directly into the bunker, the wind is likely to blow particles inside. The outer door is much stronger than the inner one.

There is a small emergency exit on the other side of the shelter. It is not usable to bring equipment into or out of the bunker, and will only be used by the occupants to escape in case the main entrance becomes blocked.


The bunker’s energy is generated by a small diesel generator in a back room. The same room will have an exhaust to the outside. The ventilation system could be hand-powered in an emergency.


A battery-powered emergency lighting system serves as a back-up to prevent people stumbling for their flashlights in total darkness; besides, that same total darkness in an enclosed space could quickly lead to panic.

Other equipment

Naturally the bunker is equipped with Geiger counters, both actual Geiger counters capable of measuring small amounts of radiation, as well as civil defense radiological survey meters. There are hand-portable units as well as as units mounted outside.

There is a gasmask for every occupant.

Each room has a fire extinguisher and dual smoke detectors / CO detectors.

The shelter has a tv and a radio (with above ground antenna) in the main room, and ham radio in the generator room (not in the main room because communication may need to be private or censored).

It has a telephone line – expected to stop working in any real emergency, but the effort of adding it in is minimal and the possible benefit huge. It is also a convenience while the bunker is not in actual use.

Since they are small and incredibly useful, the bunker stores a couple of cheap notebook computers – if nothing else, video games and digital books can keep the occupants entertained. The shelter also has a selection of hard-copy books, both fiction and non-fiction “”how-to” style books.

The generator room is also equipped with a small work bench and stores a full set of tools and spare parts and materials.

Equipment is disconnected when not in use, and Faraday cages are used to protect some equipment against an EMP – just in case.

Anything else?

If I forgot something that I need for story purposes, it’ll be easy to add it in later. And if you think there’s something essentially wrong with the design… well, feel free to comment! It doesn’t have to be an actual working design, but it doesn’t hurt to flesh this out more, so others can use it for their own gaming or writing.

CD Cover Game #1: Silver Creek Township

Alright, since I was told to “put both up”, here’s the first cover I made for the CD cover game, the one I originally posted to my personal blog:

Silver Creek Township, 'A Pound of Cleverness'

Again the world-building angle is that this is a popular music group in the world Terra.

The photo is by Calliyan, cc-by-sa.

CD Cover Game #2: Duke of Bourbon

Months ago I saw the CD cover game on Pedro’s blog. I had posted my first cover to my personal blog, but since I have moved all my arts and design stuff here, I figured I’d include this here, too. Especially since I can easily get away with saying that these are album covers from the world Terra, and not our own. Hey – instant world design.

Duke of Bourbon, "As Possible, All Things"

I actually do like the CD cover game. It’s a quick thing to do (the above took me about ten minutes including looking for a photo on flickr that I was actually allowed to use) and you gotta come up with something based on pre-made elements, which is always a nice exercise in creativity.

Original photo by Thomas Hawk, cc-by-nc.