clarity's wiki

City-Building Games

City-building games are interesting to me as a way of modeling our political understanding of reality into interactive models. In practice, most existing games are witting or unwitting propagandists in service of the ideology of power. I'm musing about pushing back on that.

Simulated People

While I understand the practical technical reasons that this doesn't usually happen, I find it upsetting how many of these games create a model that claims to simulate human beings, and then represents those people as entirely incapable of self-sufficiency: ie, "unemployed" dwarves in dwarf fortress spend all their time drinking and become depressed. I'm interested in a model that functions more as a garden – an ecosystem that can adapt to its own needs, with the player only sculpting it and pushing it in interesting directions.

Sustainability etc.

Obviously a part of the game would need to be an emphasis on having a relationship with the land itself. So, food should be present as a resource, and none of this "urban core fed by huge fields of monocrops", but instead emphasizing smaller-scale gardens. One could imagine systems of coppicing live trees instead clearcut lumber, etc.

Low Tech Magazine on coppicing

It'll probably be worth studying some ecological system dynamics.

System Dynamics