These monsters precedent

Game designer “Strange Think” has produced a game with similar idea to my initial theme.

Players are:

” trapped in an infinite series of island museums, you can try and escape through the black doors but you are just getting yourself deeper into trouble.

All you can do is look at the faces of the monsters and learn about them through the evil television sets.”

“Each generated house contains up to 8 other houses and each of those contains up to 8 houses and each of those…” “What’s inside that building? MORE BUILDINGS.”


Impossible spaces

Living time has become a commodity too valuable to spend on recreation, in a response every night the cities inhabitants the world enters an imaginary city where play is the priority in spaces where users can follow their dreams.

‘Dreamscapes’ explores an architecture that is ludic by nature, unconstrained by the limitations of Newtonian physics having more in common with four dimensional spaces. Navigation within these play spaces becomes subjective as players as they traverse the illogical, surreal, shared spaces to play and learn.


This week I decided to explore what would be inside these virtual worlds that users inhabit, and what conditions people would be under in these virtual worlds.
Looking at precedence such as monument valley, inception, Luke Caspar, Pearson’s work, I have developed the first of many dreamscapes where children go during their sleep, playing games to learn. The idea Is these spaces replace traditional school giving them more time during the day to be children and play by letting people learn in their sleep! Those successful at the games earn points that let them rent toys to use in reality, gamifying education.

This Dreamscape is based on the Monty Hall problem, to teach children complex rules of statistics:
“Suppose you’re on a game show, and you’re given the choice of three doors: Behind one door is a car; behind the others, goats. You pick a door, say No. 1, and the host, who knows what’s behind the doors, opens another door, say No. 3, which has a goat. He then says to you, “Do you want to pick door No. 2?” Is it to your advantage to switch your choice?”
The answer strangely enough is yes
Listen closely you might hear some electric sheep in the background…

monument.jpgmonument vally 2.jpg

Thesis subject outline

Thesis Project Pro-forma                                            Nic Clear 2017-2018

Question Response
Subject Area – give outline description of your research interests.


Computer science / artificial intelligence
Used to creating smart spaces that can adapt to our needs in real time.
Philosophy, particularly our existentialism in the face of the post human, brought about through artificial intelligences, cybernetics, energy abundance and digitised immortality.
The future projection of capitalism in the advent of big data.


Hyperdensity: A higher proportion of people live in cities compared to any other point in history. In conditions such as this is it possible that people will choose to escape this reality into a simulated one.

Games design that utilises procedurally generated spaces which could be the signs of the changing role of the architect as they become more concerned with defining parameters for designs while the spaces themselves are generated within the computer without the need for a designer.

Designed user experiences teaches players to play the game, increasing intensity as skill increases. Simulated spaces and guiding users through spaces to increase skill through play is an underutilised design method that will eventually change the way people create and use architecture.

Film/ sci-fi novels/anime

Particular focus and what interests you in your selection.

(You can give a number of examples)


I am interested in continuing my research on the theme of simulations.

I have been looking at simulation theory, which states that it’s highly unlikely that we live in base reality. Given this scenario I would like to explore what sort of infrastructure would be required to support this, and look at scenarios where this might be necessary so simulate our reality without our knowledge.

Alternatively I am looking at why would people choose to simulate their reality? Gaming systems provide a safe space to learn and trial experiences without any physical consequences, also people may choose to live in a simulated reality if reality itself becomes impractical as physical space becomes a premium. Taking this to an extreme, if we all lived in a simulated reality it would save the planets resources therefore it becomes a logical step forward for the species.

Looking at the automation of robotics and artificial intelligence we could see a reversal of roles as they become the guardians of the planet and we become the inhabitants of a simulated world.

This is a response the trajection of our current economic and social system that pushing towards smaller living conditions, the trading with data rather than commodities. Workers are moved into service jobs that do not require specific work environments while low skilled work is automated.

In my Third-year dissertation, I locked myself in my house for a week and could only use the internet to communicate.

I questioned “in an environment where we can do everything in cyber-space what is the value of real space?” I concluded that there is value in the physical space, but posited that if we were immersed in a simulation from birth and we didn’t know any different we may prefer the simulation. I would like to continue along a similar theme, but include more references to economic models and the technological and architectural infrastructures required to make it work. The challenge is writing a thesis that isn’t just repeating myself, but I really enjoyed the project so it is something I am keen to follow up on.

Names of people / groups / technologies associated with your focus


Rem Koolhaas

Has done research into dense urban spaces and theorising what space would be the smallest space needed to fit the entire global population. In this scenario, the distances amenities need to travel is reduced, so on a purely efficient level this becomes practical. When thinking of this the Kowloon walled city comes to mind.


Ray Kurzweil
He is one of the leading academics on artificial intelligence and the technological singularity.


Google Deep Mind
Leading the way in artificial intelligence and machine learning, closely followed by similar ventures by Microsoft, facebook, Amazon and Elon musk. The goal of these artificial intelligences is to automate our lives, but in response to this will people become free from work or will the system evolve extracting a new form of work from us.


Google Maps streetview

Most urbanised spaces around the world have now been documented and through google streetview. With the tool, we can look at the same scene years apart. The logical extension of this tool is 3d scanned data creating video feeds through virtual reality creating a pseudo time travel that people could explore.

Hello games – No man’s sky

An infinite variety of inhabited planets is created algorithmically, which while all appearing different maintain a visual style which has been design


Blizzard – Diablo

The defining dungeon crawler game where players explore generated underground networks, to fight monsters and loot treasure.


Mojang – Minecraft

Generated landscapes where players create structures for fun. Minecraft now covers 7x the surface of the earth


A lot of the people involved in procedural generation are small indie companies, so I think there may be an opportunity to contact some people to get first hand research.


Current reading / watching (and what you are learning from it).


Player of games:
Interesting look on the ludic society produced in a post scarcity world of the culture. For example the focus on education and games, the hierarchy of value arbitrarily placed on different types of games, the removal of legality and the promotion of mind altering drugs.

I am more drawn however to the game Azad and it’s functional applications to the running of their society which I imagine is a procedurally generated game board.
Applying this logic to the simulation hypothesis: if reality itself is a game we are unknowingly playing, what is this game preparing us for, in the context of the fact that we are not a post scarcity society.

Space Odyssey/Interstellar
Each film presents different visions of 4th dimensional space, Kubrick with a surreal, suggestive and symbolic more artistic direction, in response to the technology available to him , and Nolan, who leans more towards an overwhelming fractal visuals to while clearly showing his viewers what are the implications of this 4 dimensional space.
While interested in the visual language I think I will also like to explore this idea of transcendence as characters suddenly find themselves in strange new spaces/dimensions.


Gamer/ Post Cinematic Affect
Interesting concept showing how different job roles develop out of new technologies through capitalism.

Post Capitalism

Makes an interesting point about how capitalism creates new jobs and technologies to maintain its growth. I am more sceptical about believing that information technology will change capitalism fundamentally, especially since in the 5 years since publishing software companies and their monopolies have become even more engrained into our culture.

Black mirror: San Jupernio
When people die or are about to die they have the choice of being uploaded to san Jupernio, This idyllic town set somewhere on the west coast has multiple time periods, shown between the 70’s -2000’s and appear similar to different servers in a game. Again, looks at the theme of transcendence, and starting a new life enabled through technology, while hinting at the philosophical issues that come with immortality.
Johnny Depp uses questionable computer science to upload his mind to a machine, presents an interesting look at what is effectively computronium to create responsive spaces.


Her/ex Machina/Chappie
Each film looks at our intimate relationship with technology, questions of a soul and the implication of fast learning hyper intelligent artificial intelligences all of which looking at the intersection of humanity and technology and end at a singularity where the director chooses the technology surpasses humanity and moves on to the next stage.

Ghost in the shell(animation not live action)
Hybrid uncanny eastern cities influenced by Hong Kong in the early 90’s at the point of change from western occupation to that of china’s. Language and mixed city sprawls, the influential framing shot half way though the film shifts the pacing, slows down and plays with the audience’s perception of time.
Throughout the film there are many references to philosophical discussions of existentialism.


Based on the manga by Tsutomu Nihei who originally studied as an architect. Mechanical beings known as Builders, which move around reforming and creating new landscapes, appear to have begun building without end, creating an enormous structure with little internal logic or coherence. Meanwhile the last remaining humans are hunted and killed, seen as foreign bodies in this living city.
Visually the anime uses a 3d cel shaded style.


Forensic Architecture/Radiolab episode-eye in the sky
Using footage, either from satellites or mobile phone to reconstruct events for crime analysis. It has gotten to the point where companies can aid law enforcement using images of 0.41 meters squared resolution.

There are a lot of interests some of which may not intersect so well together.


How are these spaces represented?


Parametric game design:
Vast open spaces or cave structures but without liveable spaces in most video games

Experiments of internal spaces create walls intersected with doors, at this stage it would not be applicable in architecture.


On Technology, AI, robots and the singularity:
on initial assessment…

Less critically acclaimed sci fi films post 2000’s, ie chappie, gamer, transcendence tend to represent an extreme dystopia and are uncritical of their subject.
Pre-2000 scifi such as the matrix and the terminator are successful in their dystopic portrayals despite being grounded in their Hollywood ideal of humanism due to their philosophical grounding.
Commercial successful contemporaries present a more balanced look on technology, showing the good and the bad, focusing on exploring the worlds created rather than forcing opinions on the audience.


What are the principal techniques in making the spaces?


In many cases coding/scripting in collaboration with graphic design would be the techniques in creating these spaces.

The film an animation representing these styles are a cross between 2D and 3D.
I am thinking about using a Vlog format to track my progress before exploring the subject in a final film

I don’t have time to learn how to code.



Future Urban Networks

future urban networks.jpg




I turned the image into a quick 3D model

General Musings…

When thinking about the future I thought of Charlie brookers black mirror, in particular the emmy award winning episode san junipero in which the characters live in a digitally networked world for the dead”spoiler”. Of course death is a future that awaits all of us but brooker presents a unique look into the “future urban network” for the dead.
This ties in nicely with my idea for procedural generation which i was hoping to explore this year and raises interesting questions, ie: will the people who entered earlier create a generated space differently to a person who comes in 100+years later? will the algorithms that allow people to mould their shape evolve with time. I think I could draw some interesting parallels with the current state of juvenoia that’s going on at the moment, in any case I think looking at the generation divide and their approach to technology could be an interesting area to look at…