Bits and pieces to be fleshed out further. Input heartily desired. Capture chat log, with active listening techniques trimmed out. ;P
(05:08:14) Cheka_Man: what could have turned the Earth into a rl steampunk world I wonder?
(05:08:47) Chaosmark: Ridiculously high natural magnetic fields.
(05:09:08) Chaosmark: Kinda hard to get electrical components working when the environment itself causes electrical surges.
(05:09:16) Cheka_Man: which would fry tech
(05:09:40) Chaosmark: Yes.
(05:09:51) Cheka_Man: but steam, clockwork ect would be unharmed
(05:10:02) Siren_no_Orakio: The electrical isn't really the issue:
(05:10:41) Siren_no_Orakio: mechanically, you end up rolling over to internal combustion engines very quickly
(05:12:00) Siren_no_Orakio: What you really need is to murder the laws of thermodynamics. :p
(05:16:25) Siren_no_Orakio: And once you get to the kind of a magnetic field to the point where you can't build an electrical engine, it'd, uh, do things like automatically force railroad tracks to spin into alignment like a compass
(05:16:51) Siren_no_Orakio: ... Which would be a pretty awesome natural disaster to inflict on a steampunk world
(05:21:08) Siren_no_Orakio: The biggest factor is societal, imo
(05:21:29) Chaosmark: "Mmmyeah, we're just gonna put this magnetar right here...Have fun, guys!"
(05:21:53) Cheka_Man: lol lol
(05:22:26) Cheka_Man: a magnetar at the right place would make a steampunk world
(05:24:44) Siren_no_Orakio: What you need is a society that is inward turned, building arcologies around the concept of steam distribution: Steam technology works, and it works well, but you have to have
(05:25:21) Cheka_Man: yes
(05:25:26) Siren_no_Orakio: You have to have efficiency of scale and tightly controlled distribution networks
(05:26:20) Cheka_Man: so it would be a sort of communist world then?
(05:26:36) Chaosmark: So an extremely hostile world, one that forces tightly-knit enclaves?
(05:27:18) Siren_no_Orakio: It doesn't have to be either communist, or hostile, though a hostile world helps
(05:29:37) Chaosmark: I'd imagine it'd need to be somewhat hostile, simply because human nature is to spread out everywhere.
(05:30:55) Siren_no_Orakio: If i was going to What If the Earth into steam punk, I would start by averting the Great Plague of Athens, and interrupting the formation of the early Roman Empile
(05:31:01) Siren_no_Orakio: Well, Roman Republic
(05:33:46) Siren_no_Orakio: Give the Athenians at least two-three more centuries to develop early steam technology from the aelopile/Hero Engine.
(05:36:23) Siren_no_Orakio: Get trade of technology along with the Germanic tribes, let it spread out to India and China - one of India / China / Greece fires off the Industrial revolution aroud 750 AD, with the critical difference that the math for the Maxwell Equations isn't ready yet
(05:37:31) Siren_no_Orakio: Electricity is a known force, but by the time anyone can control or predict it, they already have the massive steam plants and arcologies starting to build around them
(05:43:52) Siren_no_Orakio: So now you have the great spires of the Greek city states, fending off the various northern tribes - at least until someone develops calculus
(05:45:24) Chaosmark: This sounds like an interesting alt. history.
(05:48:41) Siren_no_Orakio: It could be
(05:51:05) Siren_no_Orakio: Hero of Alexandria was -><- that far away from beating freaking James Watt to the steam engine by 1700 years
(05:51:54) Siren_no_Orakio: All someone had to do was put his stuff together in the right order
(05:52:43) Chaosmark: No kidding.
(05:52:57) Chaosmark: Hero was right up there with Archemedes in terms of ridiculously advanced inventions.
(05:53:35) Siren_no_Orakio: I need to hit the sack - Can you grab this and toss some of your thoughts on it into a forum post? Maybe we can turn it into something enjoyable.
(05:53:37) Chaosmark: I remember reading some summaries and going, "Man, I wish I could have a translation of the original. This is good stuff."
The basic idea here is to posit, somehow, that the formation of the early Roman Republic is disrupted, and that the inventions of Archimedes and Hero of Alexandria are built upon to generate an early steam-power revolution, igniting in the early second to third century. This will be a massive mess to work out.