Should I continue to dream of impossibly large and complex worlds?

I tweeted this mockup last month.


It seems so easy to imagine and even implement some dreamy mechanics, but so hard to really put them together and make a genuine game out of them.

It brings me such satisfaction to cobble together things that look like game worlds rich with life and detail, because those things linger at the edge of my mind — not actual life and detail that I could answer, if asked, but imagining the shape of things, the shape of a game I’d want to play or a world I’d like to inhabit, that’s pure satisfaction right there.

The problem is learning the skills necessary to bridge that gap, as well as deciding when to cut your losses and run. When can an imaginary game become a real one?

How much time & effort am I willing to pay to see such dreams realized, and on top of that how accurately can I gauge those costs in the first place?

Videogame worlds are seductive.

I’ve been doing a lot of weird writing lately.


Somehow it feels different from the writing in Starseed Pilgrim; the writing in my recent game HANDMADEDEATHLABYRINTH issue 0, in my tiny jam game eastern forest, and in the upcoming Yrkkey’s Paradise, are a lot more explicit about trying to build worlds.

But as I really embrace my desire to simulate little self-contained worlds full of life and detail, I run into dead end after dead end, because I can’t make living worlds. It’s just not possible.

The beautiful infinite fractal depth that exists in our real lives can’t be reproduced by any medium, least of all the one that gives its aficionados the most explicit power to prod at the edges, to poke holes in the facade.

These gifs excite me, but I’ll probably never turn these playable mockups into anything more than you can see demonstrated above. I want to keep imagining worlds full of life, real life somehow, even if all I can ever produce and share are gold leaf-thin surface representations of them.