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Madness Is A City: HomeMake's Crazy Mind-Swapping

wow

HomeMake is a game being made by architecture students, which makes sense because it looks like what would happen if a builder’s brain exploded, untethered itself from all limits of the physical world, and just vomited structural insanity every which way. Make no mistake, though: I mean that in a good way. Developers Franklin Cosgrove and Archgame have given life to this overwhelming cacophony of a place, and I can’t take my eyes off it. The city, in this case, is a principle character, and the goal of the game is to explore and understand it by mind-swapping into various avatars with different perspectives – both literally and on, you know, life. Video and details below.

HomeMake sounds utterly mind-bending, to hear its creators describe it. Try to make heads or tails of this, a world in which there aren’t really heads or tails (or any consistent direactions at all) to speak of:

“Cities change every day. In HomeMake the environment will constantly change at an unnoticeable rate. The concept of progression works on multiple scales. The overall scope of the game is one of progression, as the player evolves their understanding of the world and narrative, the city morphs and adapts, creating an ever changing cityscape. The totality of the system is never fully understood as a constant state of progression is maintained. An inverted planet, the player travels along the interior surface of the sphere, providing a continuous playing field with no obvious boundaries.”

“The existence of the urban fabric as an inverted planet creates a variety of unique moments. Although the city development and types of spaces vary widely throughout, the constant factor acting on all structures is the gravity. Radiating from the center, buildings must thrust inward. Available air volume decreases as buildings grow. Negotiations and tensions arise and create architectural problems as buildings begin to bump into each other. The nature of the street, and the views of the city above are in constant dialogue with the battle happening between buildings as they clash in the sky.”

Bonkers.

HomeMake will also focus a lot on the concepts of identity and perspective, with players leaping between characters with “distinctive abilities, desires, and biases.” This can lead to entirely different views of the same places. They city will present itself very differently depending on whether you’re playing as, say, a robot, a plant, or a hippo.

Naturally, this system will be used heavily for puzzles and secrets. Kiji the robot, for instance, can see sound and shoot light, which is really useful for navigation. Sandwiches the fox, meanwhile, is colorblind but has a powerful sense of smell to make up for it.

HomeMake looks like quite a unique game, which of course means it could totally crash and burn under the weight of its own ambitions, twisted blocks scattering into abject chaos. It certainly looks promising, though, and it’s nearly reached its relatively modest $15,000 Kickstarter goal.

The goal is to have it out by September 2015, which is still a loooooong way away. I’ll be watching and waiting eagerly, though. What about you?

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Nathan Grayson

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