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An Open Window is an experimental MOD for Half-Life 2, Episode 2. In this project I will attempt to bring the concept of different realities to life in a realistic scenario. Instead of being another Shooter, AnOpWi centers around the role of the player and his/her experience, emotion and memories. By interacting with the world the player will define his own reality within the story. For this project I chose an open development cycle, which means I will update very frequently and share every step I take in the process of creating this game. Next to the regular media updates, I will also share my thoughts on the different areas of game design in the form of articles. In every article I will also ask for your opinion with the Question of the Day. This MOD also functions as a knowledge base for new and experienced designers.

Report article RSS Feed An Open Window: PLD +30

After a month of developing, it's time to reveal more information about the MOD. Time to get philosophical and dive into deep matter, such as the concept of reality and quantum mechanics.

Posted by Hezus on Mar 1st, 2011

An Open Window: Project Launch Day +30

Today it's exactly a month ago I started this project. So far I've been able to give you some development news every few days, despite a few minor setbacks. However, I yet have to reveal a bit more information about the MOD itself.

The idea behind the MOD came to me when I was watching a documentary on quantum physics theory. While I'm not a science person, the philosophical aspect of the theory intrigued me. Quantum mechanics cannot be described in a few sentences but a part of it came down to the concept of reality. Scientists have proven that the presence or the actions of humans can alter, or better, define reality in the very essence of all matter in the universe, down the level of particles. This makes reality relative and unique to each individual interacting with it and the same applies to the concept of time. In quantum mechanics, the future affects the present just as much as the past.

While a lot of this seems strange or highly unconventional, there must be ways to somehow display this in a game. However, forget about time machines or strange futuristic devices you see in other games. I'm attempting to put some of these theories into a realistic scenario. A place where full reality is happening, but the player decides which part of that reality becomes his own and what is the present, future or the past.

The trouble with making such a thing is the sheer amount of possibilities. Even in 100 years, humans won't be able to make a computer or a game which can handle full reality. There will always be factors you cannot predict and even though you would like to give the player freedom, you will always need to limit their possibilities. Looking at it that way, this might also be the reason why people flee from reality by playing games. The obvious reason would be that people want to be that superhero they can't be in reality but the game also gives them a confined and underwhelming reality, which is far easier to grasp and has clear rules and goals. This is what psychology calls the burden of choice.

With that I'd like to conclude today's update, before it's turning into a psychological wall of text. The framework has been laid out and in the next article I will expand on the role of the player and the mechanics behind the MOD. As this article, the Question of the Day requires some thought and I eagerly await your comments on this one. Thanks for reading!

Question of the Day:
Do you think the reality of games is more attractive than the actual reality?

Post comment Comments
Goldendeed Mar 1 2011, 11:02pm says:

I think.... my brain hurts.

+1 vote     reply to comment
DarkRaidor Mar 2 2011, 12:57am says:

this question can depend on the person's view of their reality.
In my reality, games are less attractive simply because your choices will always be in some way limited. Reality provides freedom to do virtually (no pun intended) anything.

+1 vote     reply to comment
macacos2 Mar 2 2011, 7:03am says:

You mean games that try to simulate our reality, or a reality of their own?
I kind of like the majority of realities in videogames ( Mainly Fiction ) most of the time when they're not about routine-and-repeat like our world is like ( for now ).

+1 vote     reply to comment
DarkPivot Mar 2 2011, 10:43am says:

You seem to have an idea for a very original mod. I'm now much more excited to see what will come out of this.

To answer your question:
It all depends on what's going on in my actual reality. Video games can be nice to remove yourself from reality, but only temporarily. Maybe if I'm having some trouble in life, I can always escape momentarily in a different world, even though its existence is fictional.

+1 vote     reply to comment
BillyJBarter Mar 2 2011, 11:09am says:

I depends what game I am playing, when playing an 'open' game I often get more frustrated at its limitations, where as when playing something liniar I just accept its limitations and enjoy the game.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Otter. Mar 2 2011, 12:13pm replied:

I agree with your comment mostly.
But for me it also depends on how creative I feel.
If I'm in my creative mood the imaginary/virtual world fascinates me more then the real world like creating little world of my own on paper or computer.
But if I'm looking for inspiration or don't feel like creating anything the real world is more interesting.
Man, I can waste like hours in Google Earth for a quick example. Looking all the little islands in the ocean, imagining who lives there in what kind of environment.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Leon_Kilean Mar 2 2011, 1:54pm says:

Reality┬┤s way more attractive and rewarding, for sure.

If I drink a cup of coffee in real life, I sit down, sip at it for half an hour, linger, look around, talk random stuff, calm down, and thats the best there is. If I sip a cup of coffee in a game, I lose a gem or something, my character does some animation, and then I go kill some rats for more money.

Silly example, but that would go for anything really-- Swimming, driving, fights, scares, laughs, sex, work, training. Games are, ultimately, emotionally quite cold. Escapism can be impressive, but yeh..

I get more out of reading people┬┤s faces in morning bus rides than out of killing an epic dragon in a rpg.

+1 vote     reply to comment
xXMaNiAcXx Mar 2 2011, 7:07pm says:


+1 vote     reply to comment
Alvar_Hanso Mar 2 2011, 7:36pm says:

Hm. I like games, but I don't think there's any substitute for something like a mountain range or outer space. Scale is the important part, I think. The implications of scale. For instance:

+2 votes     reply to comment
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