Random Universe Generator: Nested Is The Best Thing

Every universe has ninja movies and all ninja movies are the same.

I found Nested last night, led to it by a Quinns Tweet. Nested is a game/toy/program that generates infinite universes, nested inside one another, and filled with the physical elements of reality. At first I didn’t understand. Sure, this kind of thing is neat, but I’m not particularly excited about the chemical structure of an opaline interstellar cloud.

And then I found life, in the form of a couple of people driving a car into an alley. I read their thoughts and memories. They had seen something that led them to believe they’d die in that car and two pedestrians in the alley were blissfully unaware, one thinking ‘everything is going just fine’ and the other remembering ‘stargazing with my mother’. A tragic accident nested in a crab’s eye (really – that’s where the particular universe resided). This is my new favourite thing.

Made by the person responsible for Cookie Clicker, Nested is an experiment in the application of random generators. It’s also an experiment in storytelling and an extraordinarily successful one. It has the same attraction that Dwarf Fortress and Ultima Ratio Regum have – the generation of worlds and histories – but without any of that pesky UI and interactivity to get in the way of the narrative threads.

There is interaction, of course, because you’ll decide which areas you want to zoom in on. Do you want to know what is happening in the boiling sea of this new planet or would you rather explore a black hole? Will you explore the nested universes until they become babyverses and multiverses? Will you discover the habits and memories of every single inhabitant of a particular kingdom?

Look at this philosopher dinosaur I found earlier today.

And here are some forgotten realms that I found.

The blood lair contains chests of randomly generated loot, monstrous guards and the bones of adventurers. One dead adventurer has leather garments and in the pocket there is a note that suggests a confused family life.

Just now, I’ve been exploring the meat racks (calm down SHODAN/Finbarr) and thoughts of a jungle tribe – “Does sun sleep behind mountains?” “Beasts are getting scarce. Absolute baloney.” Inside chief Kneeling Nose’s blood vessels, I found lipids and inside those lipids I found a dimensioverse. Inside that dimensioverse I found a planet with a continent called Antartica, which contained several countries. I zoomed in on Bapan, the capital of which contains a Crooked Bronze Tower. It’s packed with tourists. One of them, Michael Miller, is wearing a monocle, cargo pants and a hoodie. Inside the pocket of the pants is a note. I expect something that I can turn into a profound story to place at the end of this post.

It’s a recipe.

“Recipe :
-taco shell
-ice cream

Fuck you and your gross desserts, Michael Miller. You don’t deserve to live in Kneeling Nose’s blood.

I know this isn’t new but I’m baffled that nobody has told me about it. You should all have been telling me about this pretty much constantly.

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  1. LTK says:

    You never did post anything about Cookie Clicker, did you? Such a shame. We have a thread about it in the forums that went on for quite a while and that’s where somebody stumbled upon Nested as well.

    Actually, no, it was the other way around!

  2. Gap Gen says:

    Linked to it, this is the most evil AI ever created: link to twitter.com

  3. nopol10 says:


    Seems to be an accurate reflection of life.

    • golem09 says:

      I have some more thoughts of “barking white puppy”:


      The second line killed me.

    • ersetzen says:


      This is amazing…

  4. Dances to Podcasts says:

    A quick google suggests that this was in a Live Free Play Hard: link to rockpapershotgun.com

    • Adam Smith says:

      Aha! I thought I’d seen it somewhere around here but only searched by tags.

      Just found four people in a creepy orange house on a farm watching Dragon’s Den – “A show about insane people and their dream of starting a business.”

  5. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    Oh my, I found a Sharkverse!

  6. *Junon says:

    Been a while since I revisited this game.

    All of the nanobots in this person’s nanosuit have their own thoughts!!

    I just had a beautiful dream :[
    can I use your dead skin cells to make more of me :]
    ready to sacrifice myself for you, sir :]
    want me to print you a sandwich? :]
    this is against the first law of nanobotics :[
    should me and my bros scrub up your vascular system :]
    I just had a beautiful dream :[
    I don’t remember my mommy :[
    nanobots represent :]
    weeeee :0

    this really is the best thing

  7. Somerled says:

    Some thoughts from the pill food obsessed cyborgs of the United continent of Otlofrica:

    “One day I’ll just upload myself. ”
    “I’m synthesizing a synthesizing machine and nobody can stop me! ”
    “I’m still at least 44% meat! ”

    Now to explore the tastyverse buried in one of the Old Ones tentacles in a nearby nebula.

  8. acheron says:

    A woman hanging out in a library had a recipe in her pocket:

    -garlic bread
    -mashed potatoes

    Which, ok. Good idea, Jennifer.

    • 12inchPlasticToy says:

      Had she spent time in the French county of Auvergne? Because she just listed the ingredients of a local dish, “l’alligot”, which is the alpha and the omega of all things that can be ingested.

  9. Nixitur says:

    I just went into the shallow sea and found a lot of interesting thoughts.

    sea slug
    party yes nice
    I kinda like partying

    how are you :)

    I am fine thank you :)

    This is adorable.

  10. jalf says:

    Oh wow…

    Wounded Officer Emily Coleman, at the battlefield in the country of Bodesh:

    Is this how it’s going to end?
    I shouldn’t spend so much.
    I want a lover.
    I… I just want someone who understands me.

    I also found this wonderfully Dwarf Fortress’esque item in a Gloomy House:

    A picture of a winged oven and a talking oven in a metropolis. The oven is nibbling the oven.

    And in the atmosphere of a nearby gas gient, the glakazer is thinking

    glib xlesh diben!
    xlegek dnash dinap?

    And on another planet in the same system, there’s a settlement where Fine Day (an ancient person) is thinking

    Today. Nice day.
    She will see how right I was.
    I am young still. So much to learn!

    I kind of admire him. Young at heart, and a true optimist.

    His fellow tribesman, Sneaking Lion, is pretty miserable though:

    I won’t eat raw rabbit again.
    No. I don’t want.

    I hope they invent fire soon. And cooking.


    Oh wow, and meanwhile, on a medieval planet, in the Kingdom of Gorageen, a peasant at the Priory of the Tentacled Sphere is clearly planning an escape before the priests sacrifice him

    I want to travel and see dogpeople!
    I’ll grab my shield and go on an adventure.
    I don’t want to take part in another sacrifice.

    (Also, apparently everyone in this kingdom remembers running from the wild beasts when they were young. Life is tough in Gorageen…)

    The town’s mage district also has personalities such as Walter Redsnow (punch wizard), and Margery Tallhouse (tornado magician)

    I always wanted to be a Punch Wizard…

    Also, in the baconverse, living in some tribesman’s bloodstream, is an ethyloamoeba, who’s “#single-celled and ready to mingle”

  11. Niko says:

    - basking shark
    + body
    – thoughts

  12. BooleanBob says:

    I won’t judge.. but I really hope John summons up the courage to make the call.

  13. Cloudiest Nights says:

    I visited the Empire of Azoffigh, went into a rich province and found Alice Darkcastle (an Earth Magician) inside the throne room with many people, but most importantly the King, the Princess, a Locust Wizard and a Bard Wizard. Most intriguingly I found some bacteria on Alice Darcastle’s arm, so I dove in and found a metaverse, strataverse, and babyverse. The babyverse was boring, but in the metaverse I found the Continent of Amesia. It was here in the Country of Turny that I found a farmhouse with many people, and in one room a type of computer called a “Bismuth.soft.”

    Now I’m reading through websites like “sickcats.com” and “livepal.com.”


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    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    I just found a coral snake who is worried about his ereptile dysfunction.

  15. vivlo says:

    everything was created by God after all : link to orteil.dashnet.org

  16. doublefrangelico says:

    link to i330.photobucket.com

  17. Bart Stewart says:

    I found a Dyson sphere with future-people in it. (Nanobots are just the cutest critters.)

    Also, medieval-era people have a habit of thinking, “I am sworn to carry these burdens.”

    I cannot stop poking at Nested. This is indeed the Best Thing.