Jason Rohrer’s wildly ambitious humanity simulator One Hour One Life has resurfaced on Steam today. Previously available only direct from the developer, it’s a real-time survival and crafting sandbox – familiar stuff, but with a twist. Every time you play, you begin as a random, helpless baby, unceremoniously spawned from another player. For your first few minutes, you’re dependent, and must be carried and fed by others. From there, you’ve got under an hour until you croak and begin the cycle anew, so players are constantly rushing to achieve something before they die.
One Hour One Life originally launched back in February, and while I admit I’ve not followed it too closely (I’m not much of a fan of crafting sandboxes like this, clever twist or otherwise), I’m curious how it fared. The Steam version boasts 29 content updates over the original launch, adding new features, world elements and craftable items to the game. If the official site is accurate, it seems virtual humanity is pursuing wealth now, with Cinnabar being the latest item added to the world, and smelted gold ingots being the newest player-made item. More money, more problems.
Rohrer’s ambitions seem to increase exponentially with each game. Back in 2011, Inside A Star-Filled Sky was a cute little fractal roguelike shooter. 2014’s The Castle Doctrine was a thematically messy multiplayer musing on the meaning of property and wealth. Now he’s trying to simulate (in vaguely mythologised form) the rise of mankind on an individual level while personally keeping ahead of civilisation with regular updates. Presumably his next game will be some kind of Jason Rohrer simulator, with the player creating increasingly ambitious games until we come full circle.
Interestingly, buying One Hour One Life gives you access to the full source code for the game, allowing you to set up your own modded, private version if you so wish. It’d be interesting to see how the game works if lifespans were extended to multiple hours, or maybe even a full day. Or you could just play on the official master server, and live your life to the fullest – again and again and again.