World Anvil Worldbuilding Awards 2024 in wow that's a lot of stars | World Anvil
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World Anvil Worldbuilding Awards 2024

wow that's a lot of stars is a sci-fi setting about adventure, exploration, and discovery. Every person, place, and thing has a story to tell, if you listen closely.   Setting Intro | Visitor's Guide | Author's Intentions
wow that's a lot of stars
Over 100 creators submitted over 500 entires to the World Anvil Worldbuilding Awards, from articles to maps to entire worlds. But only 5 per category made it to the second round of voting, and only 1 of them took home the prize.   I won't tell you how I voted, but I have listed my top five per category and how I decided upon them. Ones that ended up nominees and winners are highlighted. Read on, or use Page Navigation to skip to a specific section.
 
wow that's a lot of stars was nominated for Most Beautiful World 2024! It was an incredible honor to be seated with these other amazing worlds.     With thanks to Polina "Line" Arteev for the poster!
 

World Categories

I started off writing blurbs for every item shortlisted, but ran out of energy pretty quickly. I hope to come back and fill them in later on, for all sections.
 

Most Beautiful World

When judging most beautiful, I focused on the homepage, intro article, and world meta, as available. Primarily:
  • CSS: How much of the theme was made by the world owner?
  • Design: Does the look and feel convey the genre and tone of the world?
  • Composition: How are items laid out on the page? Am I able to follow its flow?
  • Navigation: How easily can I find what I need, as a new or existing reader?
  • Legibility: Is the text easy to read? Does it stand out against other assets?
wow that's a lot of stars

a sci-fi adventure of dubious intentions

12 planets connected by metadimensional space, divided by ideals, and held together by one beleaguered organization.

Nominated!
I didn't vote for my own world, but I did submit to Most Beautiful 2024. I like to think I do well on my own grading criteria, but I'll let you decide :)
Intro | Meta
Alana

TTRPG world with Steampunk, Dragons, and Top Hats (and Gnomes!)

Nominated!
The runic background, logo, fancy AF dropcap, and askew text immediately give Alana a ton of personality.
Intro | Meta
Babikiye

Babikiye is the story of the worlds of Aravu and Araki as their civilizations evolve and grow over time, separately and then together, in a universe defined by, if nothing else, contradictions.

Babikiye's dark blue is the cold side of the pillow on a restless night. The layout of columns and images makes every page feel balanced.
Intro | Meta
 
 

Best World

My working definition of "best" world is one in which the premise is clearly stated and executed in a way that's accessible to the reader.
  • The world is easy to read and navigate. The look and feel matches the tone and genre.
  • The homepage has a hook for the setting and leads to new and existing reader content.
  • The intro/meta states the goals of the world and makes a promise about its contents.
  • The articles live up to the promises made on the homepage and in the intro/meta.
It was incredibly hard to narrow this down to 5. If you asked me to review the same list of entries tomorrow, I might pick a different set of 5. So much incredible skill is on display.
 
 

Best Newcomer

I'm taking this one as the junior version of Best World.
  • The World is easy to read and has custom cover images.
  • The homepage has a setting hook. Bonus points for any primers/meta.
  • It's easy to start reading articles. Bonus points for focus on new readers.
 

Article Categories

With hundreds of articles submitted and just two weeks to vote on them, there was no way I could give every article an equal read. There are many possible ways to narrow things down, but I opted to randomly select 20 articles from each category. This way I got a broad variety of articles, with no preference for worlds or authors I already knew. From there, I went through three rounds of review, rating each article on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest). If you're surprised about what's not in my top 5 for a category, there's a good chance the article(s) you're expecting didn't end up in the random selection of 20.  
Round 1: Composition
A cursory glance at each article to determine:
  • Is it legible? Nice to look at?
  • Is there a cover image?
  • Is the text varied (headers, lists, columns, etc.)?
This is about use of space, and how well it caters to the reader's experience. Any articles that scored below a 3 did not move on.
Round 2: Hook
Reading the first paragraph/section to determine:
  • Do I want to keep reading?
  • Is the topic interesting, or have a unique twist?
  • Is the writing engaging?
This is less about grammar and more about how excited the writer made me to keep reading. Any articles below 4 average did not move on.
Round 3: Payoff
Giving the article a more thorough read to determine:
  • Does the rest of the article live up to the style and hook?
  • Do I want to keep reading to the end?
  • Does it make me want to read more about the world?
My top 5 were the ones with the highest average score. In case of ties, I went with vibes. Or a coin flip.
 
 

Best Worldbuilding Article

   
 

Hearts & Minds

 
 

Pillars of Progress

 
 

Myths & Legends

 
 

Rise of Nations

 
 

Strength & Honour

 
 

Wondrous Nature

 

Non-Article Categories

Like the World categories, these categories had few enough entries that I was able to look through all of them. Which made it, again, incredibly difficult to choose just five to showcase, nevermind voting for only one of them. I'm also very tired and short on time, so I won't be making article-block-alikes for these and you just get lists (sorrynotsorry).  

History

  • Good use of timescale versus list. With the timescale locked to 1 year, events that happen very close together or very far apart tend to work better in list view.
  • Good use of images. Timelines don't need images to be good, but visual flair is an important piece of what makes something the best.
  • Events are connected to other parts of the world, such as articles or maps.
  • Bonus: Good use of tags for filtering.
Shortlist:

Cartography

  • Enough icons that I can understand how to interact with the map, but not too many that it's overwhelming.
  • Marker diversity to visually differentiate what they're for.
  • Good use of layers and filters to reduce how much is displayed at once.
  • Bonus: map tells a story
Shortlist:


Cover image: by Aaron Lee, Nick Ong, Norah Khor

Comments

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Apr 2, 2024 13:10 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I enjoyed reading about your voting criteria. I think your idea of randomly selecting 20 articles for each category was a sensible one - there was so much to read and think about!

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Apr 2, 2024 14:50 by Rin Garnett

I definitely missed some gems by only viewing a subset, but it made it feasible for me to vote. I hope to catch up on the good stuff I missed later on :D

Apr 2, 2024 13:47 by Mochi

I am so so honoured to have made so many of your shortlists <3 You're a huge inspiration to me and I learn a lot from your writing, so I'm just like andsjidnjasna reading this xD <3

I hope you have a great day!   Explore the endless planets brimming with life of the Yonderverse! Go after creatures, discover new places, and learn about the people you find along the way.
Apr 2, 2024 15:02 by Rin Garnett

You are a ray of sunshine in the community and I'm happy to be able to reflect some of that light back to you :)

Apr 2, 2024 15:50

A very good selection and I like how you explained your voting process. That would certainly be a great help for others, i.e. what readers pay attention to in an article. Oh and great design. How did you manage to ensure that only the world view is displayed in the articles? It often bothers me when I insert blocks of articles from others and additional text is displayed for the article.

Stay imaginative and discover Blue´s Worlds, Elaqitan and Naharin.
Apr 3, 2024 01:32 by Rin Garnett

If you're referring to hiding the excerpts, that's done with sneaky CSS! I have a container that hides excerpts on article/world blocks within that container. I have another one that hides the covers, for times I want the title + excerpt and not the cover image. They've both been very helpful for different situations :D

Apr 2, 2024 17:52 by E. Christopher Clark

I loved reading about your process and I'm honored to have made it into one of the Top 5s.

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
Apr 18, 2024 14:45 by Rin Garnett

I haven't read an article of yours I haven't liked! Congrats on the best world nomination, it's very well deserved :D

Apr 18, 2024 16:54 by E. Christopher Clark

That's incredibly kind of you to say. Thank you for sharing that. I do aim to entertain!

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
Apr 2, 2024 19:13

Really good selection and criteria you got there, asking question for each articles is a great idea. I'm very happy that my girl Krkklia made it to your shortlist!

Hoo~ Hoo
Apr 18, 2024 14:50 by Rin Garnett
Apr 2, 2024 20:37 by Elspeth

What a great way of selecting your favourites. I am really honoured to have made some of your shortlists! It means so much. <3

Apr 18, 2024 15:00 by Rin Garnett
Apr 3, 2024 16:35 by C. B. Ash

Thank you for selecting my Rimward Orchids on your shortlist!! I'm flattered!   Also I *love* your voting criteria! While there are a lot per category, your voting criteria does help reading and narrowing them down. Nice!

Apr 18, 2024 15:03 by Rin Garnett
Apr 16, 2024 15:10

Congrats on being nominated! Love how you've laid out your voting criteria.   I'm so happy that Babikiye made it into your shortlist. <3 It's taken me a while to settle down with a palette and you've convinced me to lean into the cold blue.

Apr 18, 2024 15:11 by Rin Garnett

Thank you!   The blue suits Babikiye well, I think :) especially with the water + sky imagery. Looking forward to seeing what you do next!