Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I was just marveling at the trailer for a new game coming out called Little Big Planet:
As you can see, a huge part of the game play is in designing the levels that you inhabit. This is especially cool because the processing power of the Playstation has gotten so fast that you can create and handle items with stunning real world physics behind their every move.
Create a log and push it over and it will behave like a log pushed over. Differently than, say, a board, or a log with a ball on top, or a sheet of glass.
So a game where you create and modify "real-acting" objects.
Couple that with CAD, the program that designers and engineers use to create 3D renderings.
So now you're playing a game where you create pieces and assemble them into more complex machines, gadgets, buildings, clothing, armor, whatever you like.
I play this cute little game for a while and I assemble a new kind of skateboard for myself.
Wow, a digital rendering of a skateboard! Big whoop, right?
Imagine that after assembling this 3D model, I hit "print."
Imagine that (either in my house or in a business nearby) my rapid prototyping printer hums to life and immediately begins printing a physical model of my skateboard, which I am then free to clean up, attach wheels to, and ride around my neighborhood, (with proper safety gear on of course.)
All I was doing was playing a game, and I inadvertently created a physical object.
That is a mind-boggling thing to be able to do, and yet you could do it this very day.
Imagine how easy it will be to train entire generations in the art of digital design and assembly?!
After all, they'd only be playing games!
It gets even better...
Imagine a complex, multi-player game where your team's mission was to finish puzzle pieces and slide them into a communal digital space, where more players would kludge them together to form larger, more complex objects.
You could build anything.
Need an entirely new type of helicopter? Program the game to treat the object the teams are creating as if it were in a wind tunnel. This would allow real-time flight testing of our helicopter as it is assembled.
Now, do the same for a nuclear reactor. Make the game about efficiently using heat energy. Most efficient design wins.
This is about the inevitable crowd-sourcing of design and invention. By playing simple games, we can all be aeronautical engineers, nuclear reactor designers, fashion magnates.
Right now we have data and call centers in India, working for pennies on the dollar answering phones and dealing with reservations. Imagine the untapped potential of those petabytes of human processing power. Right now that power is being squandered, but give every one of those people a copy of the Make Anything Game and let them go to work collectively on every design and engineering hurdle known to man.
Massive parallel crowd-sourced design.
Now, imagine China getting really into this.
They make everything as it is, imagine if they designed it all as well.
What's really noodle-baking is that this brave new tech will be quaint in 15 years. Quaint! Like a slow ride on a gentle horse.
What will the world be like when everyone is playing the Make Anything Game?
You want to succeed in the brave new world? Play lots of games and get used to working with others.