Mountain Simulator: ‘Her’ Fake Game Maker’s Real Game

By Alice O'Connor on June 13th, 2014 at 8:00 am.

That's a good-looking mountain.

Movies don’t really ‘get’ video games. Their adaptations are dreadful, and the idea that anyone would even adapt these games into movies is a bit daft. Video games within movies are rarely better, real games played weirdly to make clear to viewers that they’re video games or bombastic fictional games. One I would actually play was in Spike Jonze’s Her, a walking simulator with a sweary alien child. That fictional game’s creator, David OReilly (also behind Adventure Time episode ‘A Glitch Is A Glitch‘), is making his first actual game and it’s pretty novel too.

Mountain is a mountain simulator,” he’s explained. “You play as a mountain, and you get to do all of the things that a mountain does, which I’m sure appeals to all of your darkest and most disgusting fantasies.”

OReilly revealed Mountain yesterday at Venus Patrol’s indie game showcase Horizon, a remora event riding on the belly of E3. He described it:

It’s designed to run in the background like it’s part of your desktop, you can do other things while you’re playing or interacting with Mountain. It begins by asking you these very open-ended questions. In this case, it’s ‘sickness.’ You answer with a drawing. You can draw whatever you want. The questions are designed to be far more psychologically invasive than anything Facebook wants to know about you.

The game processes these drawings then uses them to influence many different aspects of the mountain that you create. Every mountain is completely procedural. The drawings influence things like the shape of the mountain, the type of vegetation, the amount of vegetation, the length of your summers, the amount of snow you’re going to get, all sorts of different things.

Then you get to watch your mountain float in space, with things growing and dying, day and night passing, seasons coming and going. He’s a bit coy about how exactly players will interact with their mountain at this point, but did reveal that you can play music within the game to advance time or unlock mysterious features with specific melodies.

It does have an actual ending, which Oreilly says will take 50 hours to reach. I cannot imagine what that might be, which is great. People outside video games often have such excellent ideas for games. He plans to launch Mountain on June 21 at £1.

Skip to 1:15:00 in the archived Horizon Twitch stream to see Mountain:

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27 Comments »

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  1. gschmidl says:

    This sounds fantastic and I wish dynamic desktops still existed.

  2. Talahar says:

    Drawings you say? Welcome to Ding-Dangerly-Dong-Schlong Mountain!

  3. Sinnorfin says:

    a mountain simulator? this will surely blow our minds!

  4. Om says:

    People wanting to be mountains is not as weird as mountains wanting to be people…

    http://poorlydrawnlines.com/comic/mountain/

  5. BooleanBob says:

    “The main character is a charcoal burner who lives deep in the mountains. The heroine is the spirit of the mountain. There are no words spoken between them. They understand each other without speaking. He burns charcoal in silence for another day while the spirit watches over him. The spirit is entirely gentle. She never makes fun of him by calling him hikikomori. He has no financial worries or concerns for his future. Another day, filled with peace and love passes. In addition, this game does not require any complicated gaming techniques.”

  6. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    SNEAK PEAK

  7. Hahaha says:

    Gamers supporting “games” like Tree Simulator 2013 Treeloaded, mountain simulator and crap german sim X while crapping on triple AAA “drek”

  8. veryfinestlions says:

    Alternatively: watch all through those 1:15:00 instead of skipping them, because there’s a *lot* more good stuff in there, including a closer look at Night in the Woods and Quadrilateral Cowboy.

    I don’t mean that as a putdown, Mountain looks fascinating, just saying you’re missing out if you skip everything else!

    (Also, what’s a triple AAA game? Nonuple A? Dejobaan fan, I take it.)

  9. LetSam says:

    I hope this mountain’s name is Billy.

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    stahlwerk says:

    That header image reminds me of this other fictional mountain:

    http://www.the-berg.de

  11. Myrdinn says:

    This is reminiscent of Peter Molyneux.

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    Earl-Grey says:

    I probably shouldn’t hold it against mr. Oreilly that I absolutely hated that fucking atrocity of a videogame in Her.
    It was probably the director, mr. Jonze, who requested that Oreilly envisioned a future where people have finally stopped resisting the colossal asshats who constantly advocate for alternative methods for controlling videogames and instead thought “sod it, might as well just sit here twirling my fingers at a translucent hologram, gamepads are so passé”.
    But still, I’m a man of simple tastes, I like hate and frothing rage; so it is Oreilly and his Mountain that becomes the target of my ire.

    • Sivart13 says:

      I’m right there with you, buddy.

      Also the idea that you would have to pal-around in-game with a character that basically represented every shithead 11 year old you can find on Xbox Live didn’t seem very appealing.

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    Rizlar says:

    This actually sounds pretty cool. Using simulation to react to creative player input, lots of potential!

  14. Lanfranc says:

    A ‘mountain’ simulator, you say? That’s very creative. But listen: I think we all know and will approach this with the understanding that mountains do not actually exist.

  15. Riley Lungmus says:

    God, but why am I so interested?!

  16. brat-sampson says:

    I first found David O’Reilly through this disturbing/funny piece:

    I recognised his style in the Adventure Time episode immediately, haven’t seen Her, but am very interested to see what he brings to a game, whatever it happens to be about.

    • Premium User Badge

      yhancik says:

      Yeah that’s kind of strange to me how David has become (in Moutain reports) “Her game creator” (and occasionally of *that* Adventure Time episode) while he’s SO much more than that!

      It’s like Jarvis Cocker was suddenly described as “Aphew Twin’s On music video director” :p

      (also, anyone not subject to epileptic seizure should check O’Reilly’s http://www.davidoreilly.com/films/rgb-xyz/ – it feels like a fucked up N64-era adventure game)

  17. DelrueOfDetroit says:

    Let’s Play, Mountain!

    “Clouds… more clouds…. there goes a bird…. another bi- no wait, the same bird….”

  18. The Random One says:

    I’m convinced this designer is actually all of the people who make the super weird games Porpentine posted about, clustered inside a giant overcoat and pretending to be an AAA designer.

  19. gwz says:

    Roight. I’ve got a pie (perhaps UFO?) in my montain-side. No idea how that happend or what notes I played, BUT I found out how to restart it (or die if you like). Just think “close encounter”. OK? Figures…