I am very excited by many aspects of our game, including the gigantic procedural world to explore, the MMO aspect and the fact that you can craft anything you like, including spaceships that you can script in LUA. But between the original idea of the game and now, we have seen many other projects starting with similar ideas and it doesn’t seem to sound so new anymore. One could say that it is now in the “Zeitgeist”. However, one aspect of the game is still very hot and very interesting in my opinion: the emergent gameplay mechanics. Let me say a few words about it.
When you create a MMO, you need to answer a few basic questions: what is your character doing here, where does he/she come from and what’s the background. In our case, it is starting with a question: what would happen if the Earth were doomed by some foreseeable cataclysmic event, and humanity had to create some kind of arkships to evacuate to another planet. In our world, the cause of the doomsday is the imminent arrival of a neutron star that will cross our solar system and swallow all of it on the way. I’ll try to convince one of my astrophysicist friends to tell us more about the plausibility of this scenario and write about it in some future post!
The idea of the project originated about 7 years ago, but actually has its source in a much older gamers dream: create a virtual world that would be so realistic and unbound that you could do anything, build anything, go anywhere and become anybody you wanted. There are countless references to this dream in SF literature or movies (by the way, I just finished “Ready Player One“, and I highly recommend it!). When I first started to write ideas about the game design, the technology was not ready to implement it. You needed high speed Internet, advanced graphic cards to handle huge voxel worlds and voxel rendering technologies to make the world beautiful, and you needed a scalability infrastructure that was very hard to imagine at the time. Today, I believe we are ready to make this dream come true. If you add new technologies like the Oculus Rift to the equation, you can really start to think about a dual world where people would be free to reinvent themselves and live fascinating adventures.