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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
-vinegar”

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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Adam Smith

former Deputy Editor

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