Thursday, 6 February 2020

Her dream envelops us

(short post, just thoughts)
I don't always remember dreams, and even if I do, not often they have sound, much less so coherent speech, much less so coherent interesting sentences. So when somebody in the dream tells me, in perfectly calm voice "The queen chose to remain childless in order to remain immortal. All her longing manifested in oppressive and glorious architecture. Her dream envelops us." with the image shown of brutalism-like structures as if a hard carapace over intricate and ornamented interior, it becomes memorable.

I always wanted to make something that employs the depth mechanic from Emmy Allen's "The Gardens of Ynn" and "The Stygian Library", and a palace structure looks interesting, partially because it is both a place of function (the court, the apparatus, possibly other parts of power and/or bureaucracy), place of glamour (again, the court, but also a display of current era arts, fashions, crafts, etiquette at its best) and yet, it also could be a very personal space to people inside it.

Control Louvre is more of the aesthetic, because the impression the dream conveyed was of not fully human or of no-longer fully human mind that orders to build all these things, and when brutalist architecture briefly cracked, it shown some alien but fragile and rich interior.
In principle, something like that; image from agatafinecrystals


One of the few things that I like about video games is the sense of being lost in strange architecture: in games like 'Bloodboune', 'Infernium' or 'Naissance'  I wish these games were about ten times bigger because I don't have enough of such environments and explorations. This is probably why 'Blame!' and its almost endless environment is such an memorable thing, but I don't think it is practically possible to implement something like that, or even anything to scale of Imperial Palace from Warhammer 40K (which takes the area of former Himalayas) without eventually running against the limits of imagination. The matter of size and usability also a concern: maybe with some coding, nesting sub-generators within sub-generators, it is possible, but not for pen-and-paper.

In the dream the impression was given that queen's architecture envelops all of her realm, but palace, again, looks more interesting and more doable.
The difficult part is, of course, making it. The sheer scale of this kind of project looks insurmountable to me, and with difficulties to imagine fine details along with generally very slow pace, makes such idea to look impossible to implement. But finishing 'on abyss' was probably liberating in more than one sense.

12 comments:

  1. This post makes me want to make cool things, or see you make cool things.
    Fuckin' love it.

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    1. I am very glad you like it; I like everything you are making and I am hoping you make more of awesome things.

      (Really hope I'd be able to make this palace one day too.)

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  2. This is beautiful, as much for what you do say as for what you don't: I love the implications of the opening quote, and that it came to you in a dream. Also, "Her dream envelops us", because an exploration of such an architecture (or architectures) would be this in reverse, like an unfolding.

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    1. Thank you.
      I thought about how Depth so far had been a movement from normal into 'odd' ('Rooms' was the idea of such movement, taken as a goal itself), and I was wondering if there anything interesting could be done about travel in reverse, from the core of mysterious world into a more understandable world; so far I don't know if there is anything interesting.

      But even in going deeper in a already established way (normal -> different) I think yes, it can be taken as a reverse, like unfolding a flower bud.

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  3. yo K, this is cool and also have you read Ra or Fine Structure by qntm? https://qntm.org/fiction both are there <- in full for free and if you like Blame! I think there's some similarly in appeal between them, recommend from me (megastructures, multiverstructures(?))

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    1. No, I haven't (didn't even know about this person until you mentioned it) – thank you for the recommendation, it sounds interesting.

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  4. This was very evocative. It makes me think of something like "exploding" architecture, or a multidimensional diorama space, or inception.

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    1. Thank you.
      Considering that initial idea was an actual dream, inception could be an interesting pathway.
      There was a video game, called "Abyss Odyssey" - beautiful, but better at ideas than in gameplay execution (to note, I didn't play it in a very long time). The idea for procedurally generated labyrinth with monsters was that that The Warlock dreams and his dreams are softening reality, and monsters are all somehow relevant to his history.

      In my dream the queen's dream was conveyed as more of ambition and desire resulting in the mind that is no longer/or never was fully human and the power that operated on material level but to the point the world ceased to be recognizable, without arcane softening of reality per se, but this also could be a method to look at it.

      There is a small book called Siteless: 1001 Building Forms (https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/siteless). I think it was made by an actual architect, who thought about how to make building forms more than just a cube while generally retaining their ability to be build with practical materials. There is some proposed shapes in it that looks as if they are exploding.

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  5. I'm probably completely barking up the wrong tree here, but perhaps a random generation scheme based on utility? "Whom does this area serve?" (which might dictate aesthetics) leads to "How does it serve them?" (which would indicate contents). That would be overlaid with "The Queen's Dreams" which would be some oddness or strangeness that permeates a wide area, caring little for who dwells in such spaces or what they intend those spaces for. It probably even changes and moves about like weather. I'd think Goblin's Henchmen's hex flowers might be good for generating such content.

    Anyway, really like this idea. Tempted to develop it into something for my Wednesday 5e game. Or possibly twist it into a more dynamic and bizarre palace for Graz'zt or some other outer-planar power.

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    1. When I was thinking about practical organization, I thought about making the court from Her First at the top (about twenty beings such as Her First Handmaiden, Her First Hunter, Her First Magistrate) and they seeing who is in favour, who is auspicious, who is declining, who is in disfavour, and treat these beings as loci of the palace, i.e. their aspects affect areas of the palace in one or another way.

      The palace itself, I think, carries five primary aspects (power: such as guards, courtyards, debate rooms, some bureaucracy), glamour (ballrooms, gardens, dining halls), ambition (art galleries, fashion, trophy room), connection (living quarters but also dungeons and places of memorable view); maintenance (storage, giant boiler rooms, candlemaking workshops) and mysteries (secrets hidden from the others) which are, in their turn, are influenced by which of Her First is currently in power. At the core, there is the Queen herself, but I don't yet know what is in it.

      If you wish to use the idea, feel free.

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    2. Love the primary aspects. That's a much better way to organize things.

      Last weekend, there was a great talk at the Seattle Art Museum about the use of perfumes and the creation of (my phrase, not theirs) scent-scapes in the palaces of the Deccan Sultanates of India. Really cool stuff. I wish there was a transcript of the thing I could send you, but the basic idea was to convey opulence through novelty (scents from distant lands) as well as a humor-based scent-therapy approach to inspiring intelligent thought or good cheer or stimulating conversation. Might be an angle you can tap for this.

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    3. Yes, this is a very good idea - thank you, I'll look into scents more. I know of aromatherapy but in very general terms, but if there is a system for it (or a pseudo-system) it might be useful in games.

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