The short answer, from Gravity Well V. Shores of Hazeron, and all the other galaxies in the game, were regions of space in the Gravity Well V game. Each region amounted to a different backdrop scene of space, on which the game was rendered.
I had a huge brainstorm one day while reading a book on OpenGL. This led me to start developing a low level system for managing objects that have a geometric relationship to one another. I called it Atomic Universe. The double entendres of the abbreviation Au appealed to me, alternatively meaning "astronomical unit" or " gold".
As I got more into developing Au, it needed an application, so work on the first person space game began, dubbed Galacticus. At some point along the way I discovered that the name Galacticus had already been used by someone else developing a space war game. I don't think it ever went anywhere but alas I did not want trademark issues later on down the road.
When searching for a new name, I turned to my existing work, Gravity Well. The name Shores of Hazeron stood out for a number of reasons.
- The word shores suggests far away places, beaches, discovery, with a hint of romance.
- Planets are like islands in a sea of space. The fringe of their atmosphere is like the shoreline of an island, extended into 3D instead of 2D.
- An early Star Trek episode titled Shore Leave represented a virtual world that existed purely for entertainment of visitors. This reinforced the notion of planets having shores to space travelers, and the notion of virtual worlds for entertainment, though very mechanized in the Star Trek depiction. They had not invented the holo deck yet.
- I liked the etymology of the word hazeron, as it felt like a contraction of the phrase hazardous horizon. I suppose that is why I pronounce it with a soft a, as in has, instead of a long a like haze.
- The domain names Hazeron and ShoresOfHazeron, .com and .net, were available.
If the game universe had a name, it would be Hazeron. It is how I think of it any more.
HAZ er on