Yes, that's right. The world is actually a sphere (like a very big ball or a very tiny planet) - similar to the planets in Nintendo's Super Mario Galaxy - and all buildings are circular/spherical as well - meaning that you can enter through any direction.

It is a concept I came up with after developing an audio game prototype called "Dark - A Garden Wander" back in 2002, which was right after Drive actually. The game was never published but was very similar to Extant in style and atmosphere, which still uses some of the same sounds ;) The big difference was that in Dark, we used square buildings with walls and an entrance which you had to find. The world itself (a square park) also had boundaries in the form of walls. This approach caused a lot of design- and navigational problems and for me it ruined the prototype, which otherwise was of the same quality as Extant is now.

Right after the Dark-project I started thinking about simply get rid of walls and entrances for buildings. Then I realized something along the line of the old riddle that goes (for you, Phil ;): "How many sides does a circle have?". The answer is two: inside and outside. I found that for our game, for our gamespace, it was far more important to have the experience of going and being inside and outside, than to actually experience the shape or layout of the building. So I did a test in Dark and it worked brilliantly.

But this still left me with the boundaries of the world (in this case, the park), because I wanted to avoid players wander off. A very old audio game, Terra Sonica, used silence as a natural boundary. When you wandered off all sound would disappear and you'd have to walk back to where sound was - sort of like swimming away from a sounding island in an endless ocean of silence. But I didn't really like these solution. What I really wanted was to just get rid of the boundaries of the world altogether, similar to how I'd done with buildings. And then I found that the solution was not imagining the game world as a flat plane, but as a seamless round world, allowing characters to simply walk around and end up where they started... like a small planet :)

And that was part of the inspiration for Extant. Due to other priorities and the course of our lives, we only started building Extant a couple of weeks ago - the tech demo being produced in 3*2 days = 6 days with two people total. Part of what we want to find out in our tech demo is how you guys experience this spherical-based game space. We ourselves find it to work very natural and intuitive. Since so far nobody really mentioned having any odd feelings with circular buildings or a continuous spherical world, can I assume that you guys agree?




----- Original Message ----- From: "dark" <d...@xgam.org>

yes, I believe all spaces in the game are spherical and there are actually no walls, which actually makes navigation much easier.

Beware the grue!


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