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our videogame's workshop

My Little Humanity's First Ideas [1 of 3]

My Little Humanity's First Ideas [1 of 3]

This is the first part out of three of a manifest that I'm going to post talking about My Little Humanity's creative process. They're not in a perfect English, but even though I feel important to write them down.(Spanish version here)

[1. First Ideas] [2. Looking for the concept] [3. Developing the mechanic]

 

First Ideas

On the night of April 16th a bunch of ideas popped into my head. They were not coming out of nowhere, but had been accumulating in an arbitrary and disjointed manner over time, and in a mysterious way, were suddenly becoming connected. When about three in the morning I had finished processing them, I had the feeling of having had my time well spent.

 

Much of the initial idea came from different sources.

For a long time I was involved in conversations with people from previous generations which whose opinions I usually differed. I eventually came to the conclusion that in fact neither they nor I were wrong in our considerations, but we were being consistent within our respective and  apparently conflicting worldviews. Their opinions seemed to me like coming from a very different world, related to a system in which they had been born and raised which was alien to me. As if, despite the great changes that may have occurred in the world throughout their lives, the thinking structures formed in their youth had remained unchanged.

 

I found a relationship between this observation and some theoretical concepts I had read about:

  • Thomas Kuhn’s concept of paradigm shift (which I later dismissed for being necessarily linked to science when the author preferred to dissociate it from social sciences).

  • Certain Marta Zátonyi aesthetic theories developed in her books "Contributions to Aesthetics" and "An Aesthetic" (only published in spanish).

  • The idea of an axiological system, which proved very useful when modeling ideologies in the numerical system of a computer.

  • Castoriadis’ concept of social imaginary became an important basis which I only came across after mentioning parts of the concept to my girlfriend Virginia, which she immediately linked to the ideas of the greek philosopher.

  • The political compass proved extremely functional as basis for the model mechanics.

  • Manifests by Eric Zimmerman and La Molle Industria, which I read while developing the concept, made me think of the idea of producing games relative to sociological issues, considering that reality is full of systems of this kind and developing the ability to transmit them through simple concepts would greatly help to improve a popular understanding of them.

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Mechanics based on a set of experiences.

All those past experiences led to some reflections and connections that could be unified under the metaphor of a ship that sails following certain rules.

 

* The boat is driven by the young. I realized they are the ones in a position to change the world, because they can notice more clearly and without preconceived models what needs to be changed. They also have little to lose, hence the rebelliousness and confrontation that can happen in early adulthood against world models of previous generations. It is young people who end up taking management at some point.

* The boat becomes unstable and sinks if located at the edges. No extreme stance is good and no ideology works when applied for too long, but rather corresponds to a moment in history.

* The boat anchors if you try to stay too long in one place. The idea of conservatism is that everything past was always better. Attempting to hold the boat in the model of our childhood, or even an earlier one, causes a drain of ideas, a halt in dialectics. This might work in a stable ideal system, but in the real world, for example, a conservative approach to capitalism drags us almost inevitably into an ecological catastrophe.

* The boat does not have a suitable place on the map where you can stay forever. If we always answer under a single way of thinking, the ship ends up running into the edges of the map, the extreme positions. Every ideology has its moment. Balance is achieved through an ongoing tug.

* Passengers do not pronounce themselves through long texts, but with short sentences. Reality is constructed in a daily manner from thousands of fragments of varied types and origins.

* The player can approve or disapprove the sentences. I was interested in conveying the idea that when we approve or disapprove of a behavior, we are reproducing a system.

* The player must deal with overpopulation. I think it’s important to understand that population growth plays a key role in historical processes (I was impressed to know that the world's population doubled over the second half of the twentieth century), so I consider necessary and valuable for the player to face this reality as a conditioning factor. Population grows for several reasons, but for the model they were simplified to a single factor, which is economy. I considered that higher economic welfare increases fertility and health, and therefore total population.

 

I must stress that mechanics were developed upon a set of reflections about a specific point of view on reality, and not only by taking ideas from other games as source of inspiration. This matter is expanded in the third part of this manifesto.

 

 

This is the first part of a manifesto (out of three) about 'My Little Humanity'.

[1. First ideas] [2. Looking for the concept] [3. Developing the mechanic]

by antipirina

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