Cellular Automata and Other Nerd Stuff

As referenced in my blog post, here's some expansion on the concept of cellular automata, as well as a small blurb about my game mechanics class.

The really trippy part about this is when you take these concepts and place them in a 3-dimensional space. Apparently, these are equations that break computers. During this week’s class, we did some hands-on brainstorming that produced some interesting game ideas (our group’s game, Elenora Jones and the Raven Society, is of course the best). I found the exercise valuable because, as an only child, I need practice playing well with others. In all seriousness though, going from a collection of random ideas to a solid game idea in the space of a three hours felt immensely satisfying. What’s best is that I would have never thought of the idea on my own, but I could still see my hand in the final result. For example, I pushed for a female main character indirectly as we were coming up with a title, pulling inspiration from Edgar Allen Poe’s stories. Having this insight into the initial stages of game development also helped me understand something I saw in the news recently.

This early Legend of Zeld: Breath of the Wild concept art involved Link on a motorcycle, Link with an electric guitar, and an alien invasion. Anyone familiar with the series would be very confused by any of these concepts. But replace motorcycle with magically-powered vehicle, guitar with mystical string instrument, and alien invasion with flying spires carrying flying enemies sent by a malicious force. All of a sudden, these odd and disparate ideas that feel like they have no place in the world start to fit. And that’s what the brainstorming process is – creating ideas that inspire other ideas, and then ideas from those ideas, and so on. Just like a cellular automata, you never know what you’re going to end up with!

This early Legend of Zeld: Breath of the Wild concept art involved Link on a motorcycle, Link with an electric guitar, and an alien invasion. Anyone familiar with the series would be very confused by any of these concepts. But replace motorcycle with magically-powered vehicle, guitar with mystical string instrument, and alien invasion with flying spires carrying flying enemies sent by a malicious force. All of a sudden, these odd and disparate ideas that feel like they have no place in the world start to fit. And that’s what the brainstorming process is – creating ideas that inspire other ideas, and then ideas from those ideas, and so on. Just like a cellular automata, you never know what you’re going to end up with!

This early Legend of Zeld: Breath of the Wild concept art involved Link on a motorcycle, Link with an electric guitar, and an alien invasion. Anyone familiar with the series would be very confused by any of these concepts. But replace motorcycle with magically-powered vehicle, guitar with mystical string instrument, and alien invasion with flying spires carrying flying enemies sent by a malicious force. All of a sudden, these odd and disparate ideas that feel like they have no place in the world start to fit. And that’s what the brainstorming process is – creating ideas that inspire other ideas, and then ideas from those ideas, and so on. Just like a cellular automata, you never know what you’re going to end up with!