Skies Unbroken uses an exploratory method of worldbuilding, one I honed in my time running Dungeons & Dragons campaigns. Like D&D, I started with a cast of characters, a set of initial conditions, and a general framework of where I wanted the story to go. Those in hand, I built and adapted the world around the characters and story. As the story moved forward, the world expanded with it, a growing ring of concretely defined world knowledge (things and events spoken of or seen in the episodes) as well as distant landmarks connected to the current action (references, history, geography).
When the story demands an answer, I’ll take a step back and fill out the details. I switch from a survey flight to a dig site. Then I try to do a little more on the same topic, just to pocket some info for later. The current episode, Payload, spun out of this. The Seeders were a footnote, window dressing pocketed for later. It wasn’t until I started working on the later episodes of Season One did the Seeders, or rather their tech, become a component of an episode.
This isn’t to say I’ve been going completely off-the-cuff. This isn’t a full-on Gardener project. I spent a whole lot of time building out the setting, in multiple stylistic revisions, before the story was anything more than outlines and scraps of character backstory. The Guidebook entries are small, refined glimpses of my larger, messy world document. Honestly, anyone reading through my internal worldbook would probably find it incomprehensible and occasionally contradictory (mostly bits from previous iterations saved for reference or salvaging).
I think this style of worldbuilding keeps me in the proper spirit of the project, since it’s a story with significant ties to the spirit of a frontier and the exploration/conquest thereof. Captain Kor Icomb isn’t exactly a grand planner, but he has an end game in sight.