Thursday, February 5, 2015

Reality Bias

Have you ever thought about the assumptions that color the way you operate and what they actually mean?

I've been asking myself this question a lot more frequently since I've started working on the Sanctuary Hub. Particularly, now that I'm at the actual prototyping stage and can see the process of materializing the ideas that were only but notes on design documents earlier. The assumptions I'm talking about, the biases, in this case are those that have been formed by the simple fact that I'm person who has a life in the real world. I'd say the vast majority of people are at least in some capacity shaped by the experiences and influences surrounding them, it's almost inevitable that our tastes and ethics will in some capacity be influenced by the environment we develop in, but for creative works, this can be both a blessing and a curse.

To get to the point, I've been parsing through some of the ideas I'd developed in my junior year high school before the VR Bug hit me and drawing inspiration from them for the aesthetics and mechanisms I'll be implementing into the platformer. I haven't been able to make much progress on many fronts due to life getting in the way of things and having a bit too much on the plate to handle at one time, but when I do get back into Unity to work on the game, I find myself questioning some of the assumptions that I make with things like world design, logic, and feel. This stems mainly in the form of optimizations and considerations being made for game performance and aesthetics, since I find that I prefer content that has a more balanced set of benefits over something with a singular primary good. My being partial to jack of all trades and balanced character types probably stands as a major factor in this, but I think games are a medium that benefit from balance heavily in all aspects as I find having any one aspect be head and shoulders better than another to be a reason to ask: "Why is this a game in the first place?".  But I digress, the main questions at hand here relate to the subject of nature or reality and the assumptions that come with it.

The easiest way to answer some of these questions is to simply perform the following experiment: When the word "nature" is said, what are the first things that come to your mind? The vast majority of people will imagine something having to do with a forest, wildlife, streams, and a sunny day. Believe it or not, that's a kind of bias. Nature is really just our environment, the physical world around us and it's properties. There is no specific reason as to why "nature" has to be associated with the constructs like trees, plant life, or water in order to still "feel" like nature. It feels a bit weird that I'd forgotten about that a bit since I tend to be somewhat "anti-reality" in a lot of my endeavors, but at the very least I've found that the latest surge of going against what reality achieves has proved beneficial in the respect that I'm now modifying some of the ideas I had to suit my current design structure to best optimize performance while still having a cohesive aesthetic.

I won't go into details specifically as I personally want people to be able to see what I have in mind since I think it will likely leave a strong impression when it is seen, but to give an idea as to where I'm going with this, I invite you to think of a universe where you can see, but "light" doesn't exist. You see, when I started this all, at the very earliest parts of Project Navalusu, I was operating under a choice to create a world from the fundamentals up. Literally. I invented my own particles, physics, laws, and even model for life all for the purposes of the fictional world that I was developing for Star's world. One interesting side effect of this was that I didn't implement a concept for "light" within the system, there was no such thing as a photon so the traditional model or system for creating light was completely voided. So what was my solution to still have a world humans can understand without stooping to ripping off reality to create my own system? You'll find out when I show the alpha later on this year.

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