The big question is: Are the buildings going to be interactive? Will we be able to walk in off the street and explore them, working elevators and all? Or are they merely background blocks for a street centered game? There are two ways to make them enterable. First is to have them actually entrable, as in SecondLife. The second is to have your avatar/character whisked off to a different location, the interior, whenever you click on a door. The choice defines the approach to constructing the game and this is an important decision from the outset, because of what software will be used and how that software will be used. Personally I want it to be as realistic as possible.
The rest of this blog is about City Games in another sense of the word. It is holistic.
Once, long ago, there was a D&D 2nd edition World Setting called Planescape. I was a kid on a very low budget unable to afford to purchase it. I read about it in Dragon magazine and more importantly I fell in love with the pencil and watercolour dreams used to illustrate its twisted and barbed desert culture inspired characters and environment. It had some nuts crazy ideas and some powerful beautiful ones. It affected me deeply, enchanted me seductively and willingly I went into the tent of the bisex scorpion slut for the passion which changes boys into men of the cult of purple eyed, addicted to black blood magicks drawing forth our power from hidden inside, leeching our innocent purity accepted as necessary for us to survive this barren place. It wasn't quite Dune and it certainly wasn't the same as Mos Eisley but it was Arabian Nights nevertheless.
It was the Arabian Nights of accepting the necessary evils of life being what it is. It was dark and bitter and yet it was beautiful, and that beauty broke through into dreamings of better worlds. The cruelty of Planescape enhanced that in the same way a curved needle focus of mind comes from drinking venom. You know its going to kill you but for the shortned remainder of your life you will live in a more blissful state and you will know. And the promise of reawakening even after death because of the summonings we do here, albeit in shadow form and barely human, are a promise we hold the sorceress to. Should we turn against her, but no she is exceptional and extends our stay, live to see another day simply because it has to be this way. Sacrifices made and difficult choices. Sigil City is the desert fantasy equivalent of cyberpunk. It predates Steampunk and in many ways a precursor to that movement.
Sigil City. The name invokes schizophrenic concepts that the cracks in the city pavement where I live are runes forming from demons which leak through into our dimension due to evil worship by the city masons, those enslaved to the city hive, its mind and soultwisting us into its games, all who step on the cracks are redesigned by experiences the city throws at them to conform them to its long-term startegies, to tell the tales this city has to tell.
"The human brain is infuriatingly good at detecting repeating patterns." Shamus Young
City games are the games the city plays on us. City games are the games the denizens play on us. City games are the weaving between scenes depicted on the urban tarot deck which describes the concerns of the civilizing influence of the Urban Goddess Ishtar who is Itza, place of the people and of urban ways. Love and War and Fertility. Development of emerging forces through repeat cycles understood as tangent spirals within the cycle loops. We go around in circles within these city streets and we repeat the patterns until we find a way to break through and ascend, perhaps not in rank and prestige but definitely in our maturity of understanding and perceiving what is going on here.
To do that, to become that which we are fully capable of being, not the self-image we believe ourselves to be but the inevitable and forced compromise of living here in such a place. To survive and to become a survivor we have to experience everything. From begging to ruling, from killing to parenting, from relaxation to torture to the state which is both at once, from love and hate to futility and entertainment. From employment to redeployment. From creator and destructor to strategist and architect. From child to adult and aging wisely in our own unique direction. From hope and aspiration to protecting our own from everything which is out to get us, people facing the same life and death choices every day as we ourselves, establishing niches merely to survive here and losing all sense of morality so that we become powerful enough to project forceably our own sense of morality onto the world around us.
City Games are cosmopolitan, light relief and black despair, eyes which are at once life and death and dare. We see this in the living ones, the desperate and the greedy, and in the others we see faded, zombified, malnourished souls who have forgot themselves and become the underling through no fault of their own struggle.
City Games are Mysteries of Old Chinatown where the streets ooze with history and ancient secrets of lost magick.
City Games are who knows what about who and who can rise above service-to-self enough to accept the price of independence is to sacrifice all others. Where service to others is a thing known only by slaves and the wealthy wisdom holders maintaining the state from utter collapse which it inevitably brings upon itself. The city sets a Challenge for everybody at every level of the game. It is rigged and it is rigid. It is masonic, it is stepped, our perceptions evolving in stages. The resolution gets better and the view and insight farther the higher up you rise.
Sigil City is known as the City of Doors. Ancient Luxor aka Thebes in Egypt is the City of a Thousand Doors. The Palace of a Thousand Doors is a location in the NeverEnding Story in which every room contains three doors. Beside the one you entered are two others, each with a similar and related symbol upon it. You simply choose which to pass through on your journey. Life can be so simple. Recognizing the signs, what the symbols are, this is the diffcult part.
Some of us live on the dream planes, are of the myth. We watch others affected by the lower levels of the ripple-down effect, taking the designs and regurgitating them, falling into their schemes. These people live their lives out unkowning that they are merely copies of patterns. We call those ones the Pattern Walkers. They must walk through the patterns until such time they revelation and awaken, break free and rise to the next tier of self awareness. Because they exist to compare ourselves by, we know ourselves to be the elite.
We have our own purpose and are ourselves merely walking patterns of a higher order the perameters of which we cannot see, not until tested at every place for breaks and finally recognize what we must do. Thus we are the architects, those whose original dreaming is always original dreaming and not to swim the wake of other dreamers passing. We delude ourselves for as we ascend to break the surface which surely exists, the flow is constant. We come up on others until we make our own and then, always, encounter the next level strategists further ahead and going in a different way.
This skaven text becomes wyrd as I watch through sleepless eyes. Already my eyes darken, already the purple seeps into my glaze and I must harken for the twysting of the wize be cometh ere agun.
So muth belon, belathun cur callen doth formeth anchant ritual vituals uponth my soul thinketh I un-readeth uv must mind controle. There is another laying over me arune of complex warping and evoked have I some thing not uv mine choosing, a spell caster is placing me upon his field and I choose not to play along to his amusing though his affective wiles entwine upon mine smiles.
Time is made of energy bound into form and flowing. Should we perceive the tangent right, we shall leave this place, be free tonight. Not of my choosing are these notes added to the text, there is a thing tapped into through Sigil which affects.
The City does this. Be careful what you tune into. These are games you thought you knew the rules to, and you don't. It keeps you on your feet. You become a dancer or you die.
The question is, are these doors going to open if we touch them or are we safer of the streets where the only locks are the chains which turn our attention and draw us to our future. Wherever that may take us.
City Games are to gamble with fate. Your soul is a tool of trade. It is all you have but for the vanity of distractions, delusions and illusions, trinkets of these urban ways. City games are for designs, the goals we intend: status, knowledge, wealth, respect, a meal, the one, comfort, revenge, freedom to choose, a place to sleep, some games we are forced and they play too deep.