Recently, I’ve been having discussions with a friend about the Creator and where it fits into our lives and perspective on meaningfulness, actions, self responsibility, and design. The game or rather “simulation” Godus puts the control in your hands. You act as a god to influence the people living on the land and in doing so, create more influence to use and have a greater effect. Needless to say, I have been comparing and contrasting my discussions with my first hour playing this game. For this post, when I use the word theory as a header, I am comparing the game to real life.
The game starts you off with two “lonely souls” in the middle of what is your only influence marked by the circumference of a circle of light. There is no tutorial and I’m left to just clicking on random parts of the screen to see what they do. I click on the people and their “health” appears then disappears. I click on the rock they are picking away at and it disappears. Doing something like this, changing the land, has either a positive or negative effect on the amount of belief marked in the bottom left hand corner.
What if God actually started life and the decisions he makes like I have in the game. No idea what to do, and only discovery at his fingertips. “Clicking'” on whatever he wants and in the order he sub consciously decides. Exaggerated as this might sound, this is the metaphor: Adam and Eve are just standing there in the middle of the circle of light waiting for something to happen. They are bored, God clicks on them, they fuck, and all hell breaks loose. In this case, this early on in the game, hell breaking loose refers to mass expansion and inflation in population with no plan ahead of us. The beginning of my problems as Godus.
I can gain belief from these people in many ways. Every so often a pink bubble will appear over a home they build and clicking on it will reward me with 15 belief. Taking down trees (by clicking on them 3 times) will add 5 belief, same with crushing rocks. The more belief I accumulate overall the bigger my influence will become, marked by the circle of light. So it seems that as of right now, I have one task. Gain as much belief as possible!
As I continue performing the simple tasks and gaining influence, I start clearing more land for my followers to build on. Things seem as though they are going well. I’m starting to “farm” belief. The more houses I have the more pink bubbles will pop up every so often and bigger my circle of light will become.
Here lies the issue of a greedy god such as myself. I want as much belief as I can get in order to have as much influence as possible. I expand quickly and people are born, those people build, move in, and give birth to more people, which in turn rewards me with even more belief. It’s perfect, this game is easy!
Very quickly, I reached a point where I had expanded too quickly. My greed got the best of me. I built faster than I could gain belief and continue clearing land for them to build. When the people have no where to live, when there is no place for them to go because of over population, they die. Their soul rises up to the heavens and I lose 50 belief. Suddenly, this starts happening a lot and very quickly, the belief I have accumulated and saved up to spend on land expansion is gone. I can’t build, I can’t move land. All I can do is forget about those with nowhere to go, and wait for the people who are still living to produce those pink bubbles of belief.
As a god, the consequences to my actions were not seen immediately at the start. It took a little experimentation on my part to get this civilization moving, because after all, I had never been a god before. The argument now would be something like, “Tyler you are not a god. That is a game and you are just playing god. If you were god, you would know exactly what to do and those people wouldn’t have died like that.” At this point I would have to say that people die in real life all the time, every day, and for similar reasons as in my game. The god you may believe in is the only god and they are the first god. In the game, as a god I don’t know exactly what the people are going to do, where they are going to do it and what the future holds in correlation to my actions. My influence on them lies in doing my best to direct them using the plan that I am making up as I play. The first time I play this game is the only time I can make this comparison because the second time I will know more about what is possible thus skewing my decisions. People die under God, and this is due to his decisions. Once the decision has been made, the influence spent on it is gone. Many would say, we make our own decisions, and just like in the game, people do make their own decisions. However, those choices would be based on God’s past actions inside the circle of light that he controls therefore I believe I am responsible for these people’s actions. I don’t control them, I influence them.
It will be interesting to continue playing Godus and see if the small seemingly insignificant actions I’ve completed now, really play into the bigger picture of the game. 8 hours into this game, are my people going to be miserable because of mass expansion too early on? Or will they prevail and find ways to overcome? Will I be given the proper influence and amount of belief to help them accomplish this?