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  • Results from Game Design Challenge: Space is the Place

    - Danny Cowan

  • Rogério Paulo Ferreira Marques, Biochemist, STARSTUFF - Cosmic Life Simulation

    "Time is pulled into the future by a kind of attractor."

    ~Terence Mckenna

    Game Fiction

    Do you remember when your consciousness was connected to an entire planet? Perhaps what follows might be a refresher...

    Somewhere, sometime planet has formed within your perception.

    You connect your consciousness to this particular and unique planet and you are now a mote of dust spiraling through the vastness of the cosmos.

    Eventually, thanks to your diligence, something special is changing in this planet, sparking the emergence of a something entirely novel: life.

    This life evolves with time, and eventually, agency emerges amidst the planet's biosphere: entities that can decide about their lives, their future, their planet. Your consciousness is now connected to them at a much deeper level and it is through connection that optimal strategies ought to be sought out to acquire increasing capabilities and levels of freedom as well as to avoid extinction.

    Game Mechanics

    The game's mechanics will reflect some aspects of what we currently know about cosmology, planetary science and space exploration. The main feelings transmitted by the mechanics aim to be of awe, loneliness and feeling small, but still important, amidst the vastness.

    The core game mechanics involve random events which prompt the player to make apparently incomparable and most times mutually exclusive choices to determine the fate of the subject connected to their consciousness (planet, life, intelligence).

    Sequence of gameplay could break down into 5 phases:

    1. Define your universe - define the universe in which you want to play in by adjusting the constants of Drake's equation or simply generate a universe with a random set of parameters.

    2. Lifeless planet - find the balance between order and chaos and enhance physical and chemical diversity   to increase the likelihood for biogenesis (life origin event);

    3. Living planet - once life has spring into existence it will need to be challenged in order to evolve into greater complexity, but not too much chaos or it will go extinct;

    4. Fledgeling intelligence - as soon as an intelligent life form emerges (civilizations), select proper technical solutions before being overwhelmed by problems, decide about what tech to invest in (best choices aren't obvious and trying to develop all tech is unsustainable) and resolve conflicts minimizing violence to avoid total war;

    5. Mature intelligence - you are now able to detect other planets (both intrastellar and extrastellar) and send ships to colonize them and discover if you are or not alone in your galaxy.

    Game Graphics

    The graphics can be minimalist pixel graphics: red is volcanoes, blue is oceans, green is vegetation, brown is fertile land, white is ice, yellow is deserts, black is rock.


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