Friday, November 18, 2016

What's beyond these vast virtual worlds?

     Absolutely nothing. Video games are all lies and illusions. The curse of learning how to create and design your own video games is that it takes the magic away. As a little kid I always liked to imagine and think that there where places beyond the in game worlds that you could explore. Areas that are hidden. There is this sense of curiosity when you are thrown into a big game world for the first time to explore for yourself.

    You look at high mountains and think to yourself "is anything on the other side. Can I climb up those mountains and see what is behind them?" Later you find out that it is nearly impossible to get even half way up these in game mountains. That is because they are designed to act as game barriers to prevent the player from going beyond the boundaries of the game world. Why? Because there is nothing left in the game world to see. There is nothing behind those mountains except for an empty infinite space that will just go on forever and ever. Those mountains aren't even modeled/detailed from the backsides most times. They are just awkwardly cut and empty and you could see through them if you look at them from that side. 

     But the player never sees the other side of the mountain. Because the player isn't meant to see the other side of the mountain. That would ruin the experience and break the immersion for the player. The game developer on the other hand sees the game from every single possible angle. They are the ones putting it together after all. The game world starts out as this empty blank space that is then filled up by the developer to create this illusion that this tiny little world has some sort of life to it. But the developer knows that its all illusion. The game world is all fake. So the magic and excitement of being able to imagine that there is something more there is none existent to the developer. 

     Back to my earlier point, as a kid I would spend hours in front of my TV screen with my N64 constantly playing Zelda Ocarina Of Time. I was fully immersed in the game world and I always wondered if there was anything beyond Hyrule. Was there even a way to get out of Hyrule? The game felt so magical to me. I was sitting in my tiny bed room, yet I was exploring this huge lifelike world through my TV screen. I eventually learned about a glitch that lets you go past the boundaries of Hyrule. There was this area in the Hyrule castle section of the game. If you angled and positioned Link just right, you could have Link walk up this area that is not meant to be a walk-able area for the player. It was designed as a barrier to hide the ugly truth of what is behind the beautiful game world. 

     I climbed this area over and over again and Link constantly fell back down to Hyrule grounds because of the game physics as if the game was trying to tell me "No! you aren't suppose to see what is beyond this point! You can't go here!" (it was a pretty hard glitch to do) Determined to see what was beyond these flat mountains, I finally got to the top. What I saw when I got to the top broke me. As a child, I was crushed. There was nothing behind these mountains. I could see the games skybox moving around. Rotating almost as if someone glued a picture of clouds on this cylinder shaped lamp shade. I looked down from those mountains only to see a dark empty void of nothing. I could see other parts of Hyrule castle rendering out from the distance, but everything was flat. There was nothing at all. I moved Link forward and he fell out of the game world into the empty dark square pit of darkness. He fell endlessly. I could see Hyrule castle and the rest of the game world start to disappear because of how far Link fell. 

     Everything in the game just felt so fake at that point. I felt like someone just took Link and put him on this movie set with all these fake props. Video games have been ruined for me ever since I had this traumatic experience as a kid. I never looked at them the same. The magic was gone forever...

     Of course, I am only joking about how this ruined video games for me. Actually, when I saw this I was like "woah cool! This is so awesome!" because it gave me an idea of how games are made. It let me see for the first time ever a more "behind the scenes" look at video games instead of just seeing the game world for what it was suppose to be seen as and to me that was super interesting. I actually tried to see if I could glitch out of other parts of the game later on. And I think this is something that all gamers try experimenting with as well. They try to break the game, they see if they could create a situation or do something in the game that wasn't intended for the player to do. I have even seen some people trying to do this with my own game before such as "Potato Thriller" and I think it is hilarious. Watching someone else do that to your own game is very cool actually. Because its like "hey thats not what I wanted you to do. No! you aren't suppose to go there! you aren't following my game rules! I knew I should of blocked off this area..." So it is really interesting to see someone essentially rebel against the rules of the game world you created. You see the player play your game in a completely unexpected way and that is because they are curious to see what lies beyond. That, or they just really want to break the game because of how board they got from playing by your rules. But either way, it is really cool to see and a great feeling.

      I am starting to just ramble and even switch topics at this point so I will end this on a short note. In all seriousness, if you are thinking about becoming a developer, going into game design, learning how to make games, becoming an indie dev, doing it as a hobby, working in games in a professional AAA studios, etc. I say go for it! Learning about how game worlds are created, what goes into them, how they work, etc - is all very very interesting stuff to read up on. It is very fascinating to see the hard work behind everything. I always loved seeing behind he scenes stuff in movies and games more than the actual game, movie, etc itself.  Seeing the tricks used to create an illusion for a certain moment or scene in any kind of medium is really satisfying because you have that moment of "ahhh! that is how it was done. I was wondering how they did this". You then have that realization that you could do something similar. It is a very awesome feeling to be able to create your own games and share those experiences with others. I forgot where I heard this saying but it went something like this: "It's fun to play video games, but it is even more fun to make video games."

     PS: This is the first blog post I do in a long long time that isn't about me or the current game project I am working on. It feels nice to change things up every once in a while. I might do more posts like this in the future. Definitely more development blogs on the new game coming up as well.

More updates coming soon!