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TRAVELER'S ENIGMA

This game began production in late 2004 and ran into some coding obstacles three years after that, in a condition of about 65% completion.

Then in 2009, after a hiatus when I shifted to work on 'Isola' and some other things, I tried to complete this game.  I did manage to overcome the programming barriers but the bigger looming issue was that the software I was using to develop the game [ADVENTURE MAKER] was basically discontinued.  Sure, it's still around, but it doesn't thoroughly support any operating systems beyond Windows XP, and I was stuck with three options.

One was to finish the game as it was, and simply accept that most people couldn't play it.

Another was to redo a hundred or more hours of code and assembly in a different, newer game engine.

The third option, which I chose, was to shelve the project entirely (but leave the graphics and sound data, along with cutscenes and design docs in place in the event that someday I decide to rebuild it in another game engine.)

There were things I liked about this projet, don't get me wrong.  The visuals were good even if outdated resolution-wise, there were many areas, and some good sound design, and good puzzles.
The 3d sudoku variant was one I was especially proud of; it randomized its structure among 8 different solvable variations, and it was wordless and numberless.
Other cool features included a 'smart' hint system that adapted to the player's progress and only was usable after the player had spent a certain amount of time wandering aimlessly.  So every ten minutes the player was actively running the game, not just running it but actually interacting with it, they'd rack up one 'hint point' and could allocate it towards unlocking a hint on a puzzle they were particularly stumped by.

The story content was convoluted and way too wordy.  Seriously, documents everywhere.  Worse, there was a religious theme running throughout that was pretty insane in retrospect.  
Some people struggle with their beliefs in normal ways but I was expressing my inner conflict in a video game and it was really weird.

The ending was bizarrely open ended and given the various possible interpretations, it made Phillip K Dick's narratives look straightforward by comparison.

The word was paranoid and bizarre and dark and pretty thoroughly nonsensical.

I am kind of glad I filed this away under 'what the hell was I thinking?' especially since it's clearly a very disturbing, dark story and also one that assumes the truth of the Christian worldview.

And, quite frankly, I've grown a lot since 2004 and now I understand that my old religious views are unprovable and more than likely total bullshit.

Granted, I'm not an atheist, I'm an agnostic, because I recognize that a God figure could exist, but somehow I suspect that if he/she does exist that God is nothing like what any of the codified religions think he/she is.  I find it very difficult to respect the god figures of any major world religions; they seem far too petty and intolerant and they don't seem interesting in doing anything tangible to help people here on Earth who are suffering.

The God I'd like to believe in, were I actually to believe in one, is different; a being who actually is consistent and follows his own rules, and who is loving and merciful, open to reasoned basis for decisions that will benefit everyone, instead of offering seemingly arbitrary decrees that often cause more harm than good.  I want, all in all, a God who loves all living things and who actively protects life.

I've tried to imagine a hypothetical deity I would actually admire and who would meet these criteria while also being consistent with the currently observable universe.  My best hypothesis so far, is the 'historical simulation' scenario, wherein 'God' is actually some form of hybrid electronic and organic* (or realistically simulated organic) superintelligence running a massive, highly detailed simulation of its own universe's history in an attempt to make sense of its own origins and its own existence, to understand its own reality, and perhaps also to create additional beings it can communicate with, including a simulated superintelligence within the simulated universe.  This idea of the historical simulation is clever insofar as it provides a credible explanation for why God would not intervene on our behalf - he couldn't do so without altering the flow of history and the chain of events that would need to play out in a predefined way.  He could, however, conceivably create a secondary simulation, aka an 'afterlife' to house the denizens of the historical sim, once they had completed their role within it.  Unlike the cultish adherents of the [quasi-singularitarian] Roko's Basilisk concept, however, I don't think such God figure (if existent - it's extremely unlikely in my view that any part of this simulation hypothesis will turn out to be true) is vindictive enough to create a 'hell' for those of us who, upon knowing we're in a simulated universe, try to derail its course.  I do think some aspects of our reality suggest the possibility that it isn't real.  For example, the 'spooky action at a distance' phenomenon we know as quantum entanglement might actually be explained as a form of atomic data compression.   I.e. the reason interacting with an atom in one place and changing it can change the behavior of another similar atom miles away, is because the behavior data is shared between billions of atoms scattered across our universe to save some amount of file storage space.  Similarly, the 'observer effect', a well-known but barely understood scientific fact, may be something similar to LOD replacement in a video game - some microscopic things change behavior when we look closely at them because they are changing from low-resolution to high-resolution variants the moment they're observed.  This is done in video games with 3d objects as the viewer approaches them, and perhaps our universe is designed to do something similar to maintain the appearance of endlessly reducible infinite detail while actually using lower-res approximations for some tiny molecular details that we're not looking at, whenever we aren't looking at them.
All manner of approximations and shortcuts would be necessary in order to run any sort of simulation of an entire universe within a small subset of a real one.  While no proof that such shortcuts exist in our universe, there's enough hinting at it that it isn't entirely outside the realm of possibility [that] our universe and us within it, arent actually 'real'.

END OF CRAZY ARMCHAIR PHILOSOPHIZING

If you want more weird speculations about life, the universe, & everything, and a lot of quasi-spiritual mumbo-jumbo desperately trying to justify religious concepts, yeah, Traveler's Enigma was full of that type of loopy speculation and all sorts of mind-bending plot twists & off-the-wall pseudo-scientific/pseudo-philosphical/pseudo-intellectual pretentious ideas that I thought were interesting at the time I was a teenager.

Who knows?  Maybe the insane, disjointedly weird hodgepodge of verbiage from Traveler's Enigma will see the light of day eventually.
Maybe I'll actually rebuild it someday.


AND ASIDE FROM ODD IDEAS, IT HAD PRETTY PICTURES.

Dystopian City from 'Traveler's Enigma' vaporware




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