How I would like

to see it Evolve in

Dual Universe


We have seen ”weak emergence’ and ‘strong emergence’ in Part 1. Now, I’m going to try and bring both parts together in a way that it makes sense. Let’s start with the economy. On an individual level, an economy is ‘weak emergent’ but from a bird’s eye point of view, it is ‘strong emergent’.

Allow me to illustrate my point. We have trader Joe. Joe just came back from a small settlement where he was able to trade a few quanta for a couple of grammes of gold. The interaction between the seller and buyer was simple. The buyer opened up a dialog, goods were exchanged and that was it. Nothing complex about that. But now, trader Joe wants to trade his gold on the open market. So he travels to the nearest market terminal. Once there, he closely examines what other traders are offering and more importantly the prices. At this point trader Joe can opt out of the increasing complexity and sell it immediately to a standing buy order. Or trader Joe can exercise some patience and analyse the market a bit before placing his sell order. In this example, we went from ‘complexity level 0’ to ‘complexity level 4’. And I argue that this is the how I would like to see things evolve in Dual Universe.

And up to this point, everything was ‘weak emergent’. If you forgot the difference between ‘weak’ and ‘strong emergence’, I refer you to Part 1 of this series. But the ‘strong emergence’ comes into play when trader Joe wants to trade on the meta level. How are the supply lines of gold being affected by the local politics? Can he influence said politics? Or better yet: is someone living in the area on the verge of a massive discovery that would shift the balance of power to its very core? These are all factors of ‘strong emergence’ that influence the ‘weak emergence’ side of the game. And if we start to collect data points, the only conclusion we can come to is that Dual Universe as a whole is a case of ‘strong emergence’. Even if we knew everything, Novaquark knows we wouldn’t be any closer to creating a “one size fits all ” predictive model.

Another perfect example of how Dual Universe deals with information is the ship building. You start with a basic Core Unit around which you build the skeleton of your ship. From what we have seen, a lot of care went into relaying information back to the player. But, you don’t have to look at it to build your ship. You are free to slap an engine on it, maybe 2 wings, a cockpit and that little device that generates the Lua script that enables your ship to fly. At no point did the game force you to deal with hard numbers and mathematical theory. But the option is there waiting for you. One day ,you’ll find yourself confident enough to start looking into the hard numbers behind the feature that makes a construct fly. And the tools to get into the nitty gritty will be right there, waiting for you.

And that is how I want to see things evolve in Dual Universe: a collection of easy to use tools that appear simple on the surface but, are brimming with complexity once you start to look under the hood. The absolute worst is a conditional tool that only works when you jump on one leg while you are reciting your national anthem and only on a Sunday when the preceding Friday had a full moon.

The basic user interface will be one of the most important things to get right in Dual Universe. I don’t like to compare games but, Minecraft is a perfect example of this approach. Minecraft tells me that a minimalist interface combined with easy to use tools leads to a game where the sky is the limit.

Although the sky is certainly not the limit in Dual Universe.

To end this 2 part series I would like to touch on; Vision.

J.C. Baillie and team Novaquark have a clear vision for Dual Universe. So don’t be scared if some louder voices than yourself occupy the forum or some place like reddit. Team Novaquark, from what I have seen are not into making broad sweeping knee jerk changes. If you see a request on the forum asking for a simple change, don’t immediately shout “instant-gratification”. Not everybody is a game designer. Nor should they be or understand the intricate details that make a good game.

So take a deep breath and assure yourself in the knowledge that Novaquark is the one steering the boat through the cliffs.

I hope this 2 part series was informative and enjoyable to read. Outpost Zebra is still in its infancy as such we and it are trying to grow with each and every day. Please leave a comment down below and let us know what you think.