Notgames Forum

Creation => Notgames design => Topic started by: Michaël Samyn on January 19, 2010, 01:49:11 pm

Title: Existence
Post by: Michaël Samyn on January 19, 2010, 01:49:11 pm
This was somewhat triggered by Thomas's post ( about exploring worlds and the necessity to guide players.

One of the things that fascinates me about this medium is that we can create things that exist. Not just as material, or even as thought. But we can actually create little worlds that really exist. Worlds that are, to some extent, alive. Worlds that exist, even if you're not interacting with them.

This is especially true for persistent online worlds, but with a little imagination it can be true for single player experiences that you run on your own computer as well (somewhere in the world, someone could be running the game, keeping the world alive).

I find it very inspiring to think of our creations not just as reflections or expressions about life, but as life in and of themselves, as additions to existence, new life forms. When we are creating a game, we're not just crafting an experience for a player, we're also giving birth to a living organism, an organism that people can develop a relationship with. Not just the characters, but the entire game world.

The idea that the virtual world that we built, exists somewhere, even when we're not playing, is very poetic to me. I guess it's a bit like a holiday destination ( It's always there for us. We can visit whenever we want.

Thinking about our work in this way also helps to embrace non-linearity.
We often tend to focus on interactivity as the one import unique property of this medium. But in my mind, there are three important aspects to digital media: interactivity, generativity and non-linearity. All three are equally unique to the medium and deserve to be explored.

Title: Re: Existence
Post by: Thomas on January 19, 2010, 04:58:33 pm
If there is some kind of procedural generation built in to it, I think that traveling to these virtual worlds make it even more exciting, because then it truly feel like you are exploring. Recently I heard of something called the mandelbulb (, which is a mathematical fractal that when rendered is truly fascinating to explore. I actually made my own app ( to be able to do it in real time :) I have put hours into this app and explored this fractal and it has given me the same kind of experience as if I where visiting some far away place. I am not sure if this is the lil platonist in me speaking, but it truly feels like a real place to me. I think this comes from the fact that some algorithm creates it + that the same object can be explored by others so I can share experiences

Imagine having something like this, but with animals, etc to explore. That would be truly awesome.

Title: Re: Existence
Post by: Erik Svedäng on January 19, 2010, 05:21:09 pm
Wow, that's awesome.

Title: Re: Existence
Post by: Michaël Samyn on January 19, 2010, 06:19:48 pm
Very impressive. But also very abstract.

Procedural generation doesn't necessarily mean that you have to submit to what can be expressed through mathematics. It also doesn't need to be so extreme, to allow for lots of exploration.

Often simply adding a bit of randomness to your characters', animals' and plants' behaviours can get you a long way. It's not a matter of creating complete freedom in which anything can happen. That's not very satisfying from an author's point of view, anyway. It's often just a matter of giving the elements in your environment a little bit of freedom. Just for their own sake, not necessarily to entertain or challenge the player. We can think of it as a liberation movement. ;)

Title: Re: Existence
Post by: God at play on January 20, 2010, 08:53:26 pm
BirdyWorld ( is a recent example of world persistence.  It's a regular game, but it has a co-op world building element.  Whenever someone defeats the boss of a dungeon, that opens up the next dungeon to be built.

You can leave the world and then when you come back, it has expanded and maybe even gained a dungeon.