I had a dream last night that I’ve had once before a year or two ago… it’s about a video game that does not yet exist but it’s extremely fun to play. It’s hard to describe, but it’s like a cross between The Sims and Super Mario. You’re in this weird open-ended fantasy world in which you have the ability to interact with just about anything, but the game somehow helps you develop some sort of story. In The Sims you’re restricted to one house and you have to keep a bunch of needs balanced, but in the game in my dreams you have to keep some strange story elements balanced and you basically end up creating small stories, all of which end up having something to do with a larger over-arching story… but the key is that the story is completely original, created by me, the player.
It’s like being given action figures when you’re young and you make up a story with them, only the computer game in my dreams is far better than a stiff smiling piece of plastic. I read somewhere that The Sims was originally called something like The Dollhouse, so Will Wright perhaps felt some connection with childhood toys and imagination as well, and realized the computer could be used as simply a way of creating a much more profound set of toys.
Well, I wanted to blather about that so that someday I can read back over it and be inspired I guess. I don’t want to forget the idea. However, it seems rather infeasible. One of the biggest problems lies in the artificial intelligence that would be required, especially the fact that computers cannot understand human language. How would a character communicate in the computer game in my dream? I can’t quite capture it. In The Sims and in The Movies characters just mumble so you could interpret them as anything (and, my, the mumbling Sims are much more compelling and entertaining than the mumbling actors in The Movies). How can one create a compelling original story when the characters can’t talk? I can think of a few solutions, but none of them would be a magnificent as if the computer could figure out how to talk by itself, which is a long way off! We probably won’t even have true talking computers in 100 years.
Well, I was going to start reading The Moonstone tonight, but I’ve blathered for so long that I think I really ought to get to bed… gotta go to work in a few hours!