Building On The Past

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We’re creating something and in that process we inevitably look to what has come before.

In this case we’re looking beyond Finland to Beirut, Lebanon where our very own Greg Pellechi visited recently. He was there for the launch of a very special game called Mayrig - more on that in a future post. But he also had time to visit the National Museum of Lebanon, which is in the Badaro neighborhood of Beirut. So here are some fantastic photos of Lebanon’s history.

The museum is an amazing account of the country’s history from the neolithic era, which began 12,000 years ago, on up to the Ottoman era, which came to an end in 1918. It’s full of artifacts found across the country which exhibit the many influences upon the people and thus their creations. The statues, steles, tombs, and other items are an amazing demonstration of skill and dedication.

So how are these important to game development and in particular A Giant Problem? Like many games with a fantasy or fairy tale setting we’ve got ruins and locations that draw upon real world locations, cultures and peoples for inspiration. And because of that we need to be aware of our influences but more importantly mindful and respectful of them.

Some of our ideas are drawing from classical European creations, which encompasses the Hellenistic and Roman eras. Others draw from the Medieval era. And others draw from even different times and places. And that may seem incoherent and bad art design. But as you see in a place like Lebanon where those periods have all had their influences, they create something special - something uniquely Lebanese.

Places and people build upon the past. They incorporate the new. So there’s often a level of incoherence of “poor design” or “poor planning” to reality that we don’t often see in games, because things are not “consistent”. Unless it’s a modern setting for a game like The Division. But we’re not going for that. We’re trying to offer a game with a plurality, and the easiest way to do that is through the locations we create.

Those locations are meant to tell a story, much as the artifacts in the National Museum of Lebanon do. They demonstrate how the times have changed, how influences have waxed and waned. They are reflections of the people that were there and their ideas and beliefs. All that set against the “modern times” of the game.

Our hope is that by looking to the past, and learning from elsewhere, we can create something that is uniquely A Giant Problem. While still being respectful and paying homage to the work and culture of others. To see how we do you’ll just have to explore the myriad of levels we’ll include in the game and let us know what influences you see in our work.

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