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Closed Systems, Up Close and in Real Time

Started by droqen, January 14, 2022, 06:56:19 AM

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Closed Systems

I've always enjoyed things that feel like this. It's not just generation ships or things that really do go out of their way to feel like 'bottle worlds', it's also the feeling of something being... cleanly, elegantly designed, self-contained, focused. Focus is a good word.

In games, there's a very special feeling I get from full-world simulations. Heat Signature, Dwarf Fortress, Oxygen Not Included, Crusader Kings 2... these games convey a sense that the entire world is 'one mode,' simulated, in a roguelike way. This isn't the only way to do this, of course...

Mount and Blade simulates a whole world in modes - you move between the world map and combat scenarios. The combat scenarios feel a bit tacked-on to me, though...

Up Close and in Real Time

On the other hand, I hate pausing these games, zooming around the whole world. No -- that's not quite true. I actually really like it, but it takes away from this feeling of wholeness, of living and breathing this world. It's seductive, having a tool so powerful available to me as a player. I love pausing these games, zooming around the whole world, and that's the problem.

I like playing Probability 0 and Dungeon Bounce. Cave Story and Dark Souls and Ynglet. I like getting into a flow, experiencing this "Up Close and in Real Time" effect.

Maybe zooming out to an overworld isn't a problem: it can give much-needed context? The problem is when the "Up Close and in Real Time" mode is unimportant, anything other than primary. Frequent interruptions have that effect on this mode for me. (Also see my above comment on Mount and Blade.)

... is this a Cursed Problem?

I'm going to have to think about this some more tomorrow.
Successful games to consider:
- Uurnog Uurnlimited
- System Shock 2
- Elona
- 31 unmarked games [Oct 25, 'Alien'] (too small though. look into scaling solutions. how do other games do it?)
- Starseed Pilgrim? (not a 'whole world', but still feels like a 'big' simulation. again a scaling thing: it's conceptually small, even if it feels traversable/large)
- Dark Souls? (maybe not a whole simulation)
- Clockwork Calamity in Mushroom World? (maybe not real-time enough)'
- Blessed Surface (I found it too... unpolished?)

Hmm. I didn't get into it. But:
- Noita


Additional thought which needs to be folded into the 'Closed Systems' somehow-
Hacking games with artificial connection animations feel worse than when I am engaging with a real system's transfer and load times.
I want "A Closed System That's Doing Its Best", not a closed system that's causing me to suffer for its presentation...
It doesn't have to be doing its best to let me in, but I want the fantasy that it's doing its best according to some functional purpose.
I'm just along for the ride.